I have a big sweet tooth. I love all things sweet: brownies, cake, cookies, ice cream, candy, cinnamon rolls, sugar in my coffee, chocolate-covered almonds, pumpkin bread, milk chocolate – you get the picture. I don’t discriminate against nature’s sweets and enjoy them just the same. I am positive that there are only a handful of fruits that I won’t eat. Currently, blueberries are an obsession of mine, and honey makes my morning tea just the right amount of sweetness to start the day. Don’t even get me started about the naturales (fruit drinks) here in Honduras or the bread that hermana Denia makes. God knew what he was doing when he compared the Israelites living in an intimate community with him to honey.
Even when I was a little girl, I had a love for sweet and sugary foods. I can remember being at a childhood friend’s birthday party only eating the icing off a cupcake. When I went to Starbucks with my dad and papaw, I only ordered frappuccinos, white mocha frappuccinos to be exact. Occasionally after church, my family and the Rendon family would stop at Wendy’s for lunch. There I would order the chicken nugget meal with a chocolate frosty and dipped both my nuggets and my fries in the frosty. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. There was one summer when my mom would take me by a local snow cone shop, Eagle Ice, and I would order a snow cone with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle – so yummy! I live for the sweet moments, both in food and in life.
There is, however, such a thing as having too much sweet in your life. Stomach aches and cavities are just two small symptoms of an overload of sugar. More severe effects can be high blood sugar, weight gain, and diabetes. When it comes to the sweetness of life, while it may not give you heart disease, I’ve learned that it is often accompanied with other emotions. Emotions that you wouldn’t expect to be present during such a sweet time.
Consider close coworkers and friends leaving. It’s bittersweet. You’re happy for them and their new adventure, but that adventure takes them away. Think of parents when they send their children off to university. They are so proud of who their children have become and are becoming, but it is hard to watch them go. Think of close college friends who are taken in different directions after graduation. Sweet and bitter. Joy and grief. Pride and sorrow. Life is full of these opposite, “conflicting” emotions together.
I cannot help but think of Jesus when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion. There were so many emotions that he must have felt when he prayed to God. Sorrow because he would leave his disciples behind but joy because of what his death and resurrection would bring. Fear for the kind of death he would have to endure and grief because he knew the disciples wouldn’t understand at first. Intense sorrow because of the separation from his Father but peace knowing the glory that awaited them both. Disappointment because his disciples weren’t there for him during his time of distress but comfort because his Father was there for him. So many emotions had to have been swirling around in his heart that night Jesus was praying.
I’ve experienced a swirling of emotions recently. What I am learning from Jesus is that while I am experiencing an overwhelming mix of emotions, I won’t be overcome. I’ve been learning that life is bittersweet and that endings are just as beautiful as beginnings. I’ve been learning that God sees the obstacles that I and my community face, that he also sees the hurt, and that he cares. I know the truth that God cares is evident, but I needed to be reminded. Life will continue to be bittersweet until Jesus returns and makes everything as it should be, as it was designed to be. Until then I will serve a God who will walk with me through every sweet and bitter moment.