A Dash of Salt

Until six months ago, I had something in common with more than 4 million teenagers. Nope, there are no Justin Timberlake or Taylor Swift ditties in my iPOD, in fact I don’t even own an iPOD. Nothing in my closet bears an Abercrombie & Fitch label, and if I say something is “off the bone†I’m probably referring to a breast of chicken, not a party. So what could this über quirky mommy of two possibly have had in common with a fifteen-year-old? It was all in my grin. My tin-grin. I wore braces as an adult.

When someone with small teeth and sensitive gums dons the latest in orthodontic fashions she’s likely to encounter a few canker sores or other mouthy maladies. Once my orthodontist noticed an infected molar bordering a metal band. He quickly instructed his assistant to remove the band and counseled me to massage the gum and rinse my mouth with salt water at least three times a day. And that was it. No prescription. No suggestion to purchase a medicated mouth wash or oral antiseptic. A few swishes of common table salt dissolved in warm water were what the reputable doctor recommended. The salt water instantly soothed my sore mouth and eradicated the infection within two days.

As I was swishing, a commonly recited scripture verse bounced on my heart.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.†Matthew 5: 13 NIV

I’ve read that verse countless times, each time thinking of the mineral’s distinctive taste and preservation qualities, but never considering other traits of the seasoning. Without a doubt, salt adds zip to food, but it can also promote healing. Gargling with warm salt water relieves a sore throat. Tepid salt water soaks also are known to cure fungal infections. And saline sprays abate nasal congestion.

As a grain of salt for Christ, I am commanded to add a specific flavor to the world I encounter; a taste so basic yet so essential that the complexities of its make-up are often unnoticed. Components of the flavor include patience, kindness, mercy, grace, selflessness, peace, truthfulness, hope, trust, and forgiveness. Mix those ingredients together and the created composite is love (recipe found in I Corinthians 13:4-7). And it’s a flavor needed in every fiber of my life and my surroundings.

When I sit still and earnestly listen to my four-year-old chatter about her everyday adventures with her imaginary diaper wearing, 11-year-old, blue feathered, high flying friend “Baby Bird,†I’m sprinkling salt on my relationship with my daughter.

When I put aside my plans to relax with a book or write for leisure to instead help my husband grade exams or assist him with research projects, I’m dashing salt on my marriage.

When I bring a meal to a new mother, console a hurting heart, or pardon a wrong against me, I’m dousing salt on friendships.

Pouring love into a pot of boiling affliction begets a flavor so bold, so savory, so edifying that it pleases even a woefully wounded palate. Like salt, love is more than a remedy for blandness it’s an agent of healing.

2 Responses to A Dash of Salt
  1. Tracie
    November 12, 2008 | 2:10 pm

    What a wonderful post! Our love is like salt, and light for that matter. It is so important to “season” (and brighten) our loved ones as well as the rest of the world. Thanks for sharing.

    PS: I wore braces twice (once when I was young and once as an adult). Sigh, should have worn my retainer!! HA.

  2. Kimberly
    November 12, 2008 | 11:30 pm

    You write so beautifully! And I especially need to be reminded that my family needs my saltiness…not so much my sassiness. 🙂