As a child, I loved to watch this scene from Mary Poppins. Perhaps it was because my mom looks very much like Julie Andrews. Or maybe it was because I have always fantasized about singing a duet with a live bird. Or perhaps it was because she was magical and made life incredibly easy for you. Yes, that was it. I really wanted that spoonful of sugar in my life to make all the yucky stuff easier. With Mary, all you had to do was snap your fingers and your messy room was instantly clean and tidy. No stuffing things under the bed or in the closet for an instant fix, and no hard labor of folding and picking up involved. Who wouldn’t want that? Ironically, this song talks a good game–whistle while you work to make the work seem fun–but Mary’s actual “work” is all magic and no work! Talk about double talk.
Every morning our family plays a similar little tune. It’s called “A Spoonful of Sugar Helps Asher Eat His Sauce”. (Sauce, for those of you unfamiliar with this technical term, is banana blended with an obscene amount of liquid fish oil, magnesium, B-complex, protein powder, green powder, and fiber powder. If ever a spoonful of sugar was needed, it would be for this vile concoction.) We tell Asher it’s really not that bad, suck it up (literally), and in the end he can have a sugary bribe to make the work worth his while. It is also double talk and he knows it. This stuff is gross and there is no disguising it. No amount of whistling, singing, pollyanna-pep-talking, or sugar will change the fact that his sauce is gross. However, the sauce is also vital to his well-being and in managing his Asperger’s. Without it, he is just not the same kid. The benefits of his sauce outweigh any discomfort he may experience in consuming it, but as a kid he’s too immature to understand this. He just wants to skip the work and go straight to the sugar. Don’t we all?
During the past year of my life, I have begged the Lord to give me some sugar to make all the pain easier to swallow. I have fought the lessons that have come from doing the hard work. And I have learned (and am learning) that I need to put first things first. Escaping pain, avoiding grief, being blessed, getting some sugar is not a first thing. These aren’t bad things to want but they can never satisfy and can never take the place of first things. What I am learning is that loving God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind is the only first thing I can ever want. The moment I put a second thing in first place, the moment I beg for sugar and please hold the sauce, I am operating out of my Old Self.
So yes, I do still long for the easy road where I can snap my fingers and make all the world right again. I long for a day when no sauce is required for well-being. But while I wait for the perfection I was intended for, I will continue to remember to: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Happy is the woman who trusts in Him. Psalm 34:8