Recently I learned that there is something we all add to our food that makes salt, pepper, MSG and curry powder completely irrelevant. It makes food addictively tasty, and not adding it leaves most foods unappetizing, or even disgusting. I recently discovered the amazing powers of this incredible additive when I failed to add it.
By now you may have some guesses regarding the identity of this additive, but in case you have not, I will supply a few more clues.
A few days before my discovery we took Maxine and some of her school friends swimming at a big, indoor water park. It was very fun for the kids, and I had fun as well. I swam a couple of laps in an Olympic sized swimming pool, which wore me out. The next day my neck and jaw hurt. I figured that I had overdone it on an exercise that I don't do regularly enough. I stretched as much as I could, but the next day the pain was worse; it hurt to open my mouth wide enough to eat, and the sides of my face were red and puffy. I looked like me two years ago before losing more than 30 pounds.
Horyon was guessing that I had mumps, but I was pretty sure that the mumps was a disease out of history, like polio or the black plague. She was actually pretty close: I had a viral salivary gland infection, which is a good description of mumps, only this wasn't mumps.
The doctor prescribed medicine, and I started looking on the internet. Unfortunately, the virus must have been looking as well, because it figured out what it should have been doing: blocking the production of saliva. Of course, saliva is the one thing we all add to our food, the moment we take a bit. And until you have tried eating without it, you cannot realize what a difference it makes.
Of course soups are fine without saliva, as are a few other naturally wet foods: watermelon, oranges, ice cream, But pretty much everything else takes a quick detour from dessert to desert; it was like chewing on a mouthful of cotton. And so with every mouthful of food I took a sip of water. Sounds like a good solution, but water is most definitely not saliva. My food was moist, but not flavorful.
I spent almost a week not really tasting much, struggling to chew, and swallowing with difficulty. As it happens, God was simultaneously using this disease to not only give my immune system a workout, but to give me a physical reminder of the daily spiritual additives that I need: prayer and reading the Bible.
I am embarrassed to write this, but when summer vacation started I completely lost my routine of reading and memorizing scripture. As it lost this additive, my life also began to lose flavor and moisture, but in a more insidious way than my food did. Instead of the Bible, I spent time reading other books, watching some videos, and playing a few computer games. Like sipping water with my food, it sufficed. Unlike food without saliva, I quickly grew accustomed to my revised (non)spiritual diet. Once my kids went on vacation, I didn't even think about making Bible time, it just slipped in occasionally.
Thankfully God keeps looking for me, the shepherd seeking that one foolish lamb that keeps wandering off. I needed a reminder that my daily bread can easily lose its taste.
On a final note, thanks Mark Pedal for asking me how the Roblog is going. Gave me the impetus to sit down and finish this post. Because if you can't stay up until 2:40 during vacation, when can you?