A Witness to Life

It unimposingly sat on the table . Its purpose was to make life better by offering up sweetness. In itself, it wasn’t all that attractive … in itself it was plain and unadorned.

But its value to me was greater than many of my other possessions.

I’m talking about my family’s sugar bowl. This sugar bowl sat on our family’s kitchen table for as long as I can remember. The table coverings changed from Country Check to Simple Linen. The tables even changed from chrome and flecked laminate to a much more civilize walnut. But it wasn’t the style or the material that the sugar bowl rested upon that was so special. It was the conversations that were held over that vessel of sweetness that remain with me … the memories of how life changed and how those experiences happened around that simple piece of china.

… Like the time when my dad asked me to sit in his lap on Saturday morning so he could tell me that life just wasn’t working out between him and my mom; that he was going to live somewhere else. While I sat there, summoning up my whole four years of maturity, I remember how I sobbed into his shoulder while I asked if he would ever come back to visit me. Then, through his own tears he pulled me close. I can still see how he wiped away the tears from his eyes and said he changed his mind, he wasn’t going anywhere.

… Or there were the many times I can remember moving the sugar bowl aside so I could watch Mom make dozens of fruit pies, apple dumplings, or cookies. She would expertly reach her spoon into the white sugar to sprinkle glistening crystals atop each piece of homemade heaven.

… Then there were all the times when I would sit at the table that held the sugar bowl, waiting for Dad to come home from working his job at the factory. We would share a milk-diluted cup of coffee sweetened by too many spoonsful of that sweet white stuff and talk about life as only a six-year old understood it. No topics were off limits, and many times he would tell me that life would be difficult for me, because I didn’t just see life as black and white … I saw life’s experiences in shades of gray.

… Sadly, the day came when that same bowl of sugar and a less diluted cup of coffee occupied that maple table when Dad told me that he and Mom were, in fact, splitting this time and I needed to pick who I would stay with. I remember the pain from that conversation and how no amount of sweetness offered up from that sugar bowl could console me.

Years later, when that sugar bowl sat on my own table, I experienced life’s pain that came in shades of gray. Dad was right about that in my life.

For too many years my view of Christ was just like that of my sugar bowl. While I looked the other way, turning to resentment and cynicism to help me in life, he was always there witnessing all the good as well as bad that was happening in my life. Faithfully, he offered up a sweetness for my broken spirit whenever it held bitterness; all I needed to do was accept it. He was ever-patient, offering comfort from the unpleasantness that comes with life. John 10:10 shares, “… I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”.

Now that is what I call a real sweetness.

That sugar bowl is still in my home, but now in a place of honor and safety. It represents that no matter what happens, life’s bitterness can be dealt with properly with a filling of the sweetness That comes from a relationship with Christ.

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