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?


Greg de Mello said...

Hello my friend - nice to discover your blog. I enjoyed this entry because it remeinded me of my experince with whiskey. In my younger years it was repulsive - I could not understand how anyone could drink it. Now I love the stuff (not in excess) - not burbon but proper malt whiskey - I can even tell the difference between different types and even the different ages. Malt Whiskey - you learn to love it and appreciate it - maybe life is like that too

Publius said...

Totally with you on coffee. My favorite, I think, is a straight latte from Starbucks. That's just good stuff. No fluff, no sugar, just good coffee.

There's something esle there, too. I think acquired tastes are a gift from God in their own right. They reward perseverance, one of our Lord's favorite virtues. Coffee, beer, spicy food, collard greens. So many of the best tastes in life reward only those patient enough to develop a taste for them. Likewise, babes in Christ love that spiritual milk, but we who have developed a taste for meaty discipleship experience a profound joy. When the Word starts to dig at something deep within us, makes us uncomfortable in ways we thought we were secure - that's the good stuff. That's the bitter taste you know will be joyful later.

yourplanispuny said...

Call me strange, but I don't remember having to acquire a taste appreciation for black coffee or beer or wine or whiskey, but then again I have always prefered bitter to sweet. With that said, I do still find BAD coffee/beer/wine/whiskey utterly repulsive, though I have learned to drink bad coffee when desparate times call for desparate measures. Sorry that I have no spiritual metaphor for that, though I am sure I could come up with one if I was so motivated.