Sunday, April 29, 2012

Got Milk?

I don't!  At least I'm not supposed to have milk.   Truth be told, I have a quart of that wonderful, white liquid tucked secretly away in a dark corner of my refrigerator just waiting for that moment when I simply can not handle another cup of tea mixed with that substance affectionately known as "alternative milk".   You know...that stuff they make with soy beans or almonds or some such that they try to convince us is as good as milk?   It isn't.   I can honestly say that I don't mind the taste of almond milk...but it leaves one heck of an after taste.  Yuk! 

Honestly, I never realized what a big part of my diet included milk and milk by-products, and I truly never realized how much I love that white stuff in all its many and varied forms.  So why, you may ask, am I writing this lament?   It isn't because I am lactose intolerant...that's the hard part.   I can tolerate lactose quite well thank you very much.   It's because, according to my chiropractor, milk causes inflammation.   Who knew?  Apparently, I didn't.   My doctor delivered this information after I had pinched the L5 nerve in my back and was in so much pain I could barely walk.  Apparently, inflammation and arthritis is running ruin with my spinal column rendering me structurally unsound.  

However, not one to be easily duped and definitely not wanting to be parted from my substance of preference so quickly, I went to the internet to see if this alarming news could possibly be true.   Sadly, it is according to this website:    Reading this article brought no comfort whatsoever.    Imagine my surprise and alarm when I discovered there are other foods I deeply love that cause inflammation and arthritis.

Listed in this article are all of my top faves: potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, the list goes on and on and sadly, on.  They described these foods as "nightshade" vegetables which led me to conjure up images of people furtively meeting in dark alleys for their veggie fix.  Even beef is considered to be a culprit in the conspiracy of foods that can cause pain and swelling in our joints.   It looks like my diet is about to change radically.

With that in mind, I trucked off on my weekly jaunt to the grocery store.   With a heavy heart, I bypassed my favorite brand of Raisin Bran.   I think I heard it sniffing as I reached for container of oatmeal and a box of something called Mixed Grain cereal with flax seed.  At least it sounds healthy!   According to the description, it is rich in Omega Fatty Acids, another substance my nutrition conscious chiropractor told me to take.   With strength and courage, I entered the produce department and forged past the potatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers and went to the broccoli, beans and spinach. least no one can accuse me of not going green.  I left the market and drove with determination past my favorite hamburger stand on the way home.   I mean...why foil my all my valiant efforts in the market with a healthy...or should I say unhealthy...dose of cholesterol?

So now, here I sit at my computer, bidding a fond farewell to my delicious, but wretchedly unhealthy diet and welcome with open arms my new, healthier diet and, hopefully, pain free future.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lot's Wife

Genesis 19:15-24

            When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.”  But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and left him outside the city.  When they had brought them outside, they said: “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills or else you will be consumed.”   And Lot said to them; “Oh no, my lords; your servant has found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life: but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die.   Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one.   Let me escape there-is it not a little one?- and my life will be saved!”   He said to him, “Very well, I grant you this favor too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.   Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.”  Therefore, the city was called Zoar.   The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.
             Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out   of heaven: and he overthrew those cities, and all thePlain, and all the inhabitants of the cities and what grew on the ground.  But Lot’s wife behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

For years, I have wondered why the Lord turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt.   It seems to be an incredibly severe punishment for such a human and understandable behavior.  Who among us hasn’t looked back when we were leaving someone or something behind?   It seems almost as though we need to look back to have some kind of closure.   Yet, the angels were very clear: “Do not look back.”

Now, as I re-read the scripture, it doesn’t really say that the Lord turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt.  It says, “But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”   Why on earth would that happen?   A fundamentalist might say “Because the Lord said it would.”  Perhaps that’s true.   However, I think there is a deeper, yet elegantly simple reason.   It is impossible to move forward if you are looking back.

When the Lord called Lot and his family to leave Sodom and Gomorrah, He was not only trying to save them from the physical destruction of the cities, He was also saving them from a destructive and deeply sinful culture.   He was calling them into a new life of trust in Him.   This type of call is difficult for anyone.   Lot himself struggled with leaving everything behind.  Yet, in the end, he managed to do it.  Sadly, his wife did not.  She needed to hold onto what was left behind and it immobilized her.

The underlying truth of this story has as much meaning for us today as it did for the people who experienced it thousands of years ago.  In our lives, we are often called to leave the old life behind, to grow and to move into a new life.   Sometimes this change takes the form of a new job, moving to a new city or state, getting married or having a child, to name a few things.   Other times the change comes in the form of a conversion experience, or simply an understanding that we have to allow ourselves to let go of our old behavior and to grow.   However, it is impossible for us to be successful in this transition if we do not let go of the past completely and, with trust in the Lord, move forward into the unknown.   Anyone who has experienced this knows how hard it is to do and how extremely difficult it is not to look back to see where we have been.   However, if we cling to the past, like Lot’s wife, we too will become immobilized.