Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The Taste of Life
I love helping people learn new things. Its a deep sense of personal satisfacton to have someone tell me they liked something I wrote, having never thought of a particular idea in those terms. A good friend tells me he likes coffee now because I showed him the difference between bad coffee that most people settle for and the really good stuff that makes you want to be a poet. Life is like food. There are different experiences of taste that come our way. We know sweet memories and bitter ones. We have relatives we refer to as salty and relationships that have gone sour. I kid a fellow collegiate minister when we would get together for "coffee" on campus. He would order this skirt drink called a "Mt Fuji Snow." I couldn't tell you what was in it, but all I know is that it was sweet to the taste. Looking at my dark French Roast, he would ask, "How can you drink that stuff?" "I've learned how to enjoy it." I replied. To some, learning to enjoy coffee is like learning how to love eating tripe or kidney. If it doesn't come naturally, why bother? Sweet sensing taste buds are at the fore of the tongue. Sweet is most easily accessed and experienced. It's why babies love sugary treats. But bitter lies further back on the palate, and if we are not careful, we will miss its opportunity to deepen our tastes and our enjoyment of flavor that come through that sensory input. I wonder if this is why the church of my tradition prefers grape juice over real wine? In exchange for the blessing of the vine, have we settled for the drink of children?