Sunday, May 4, 2014

Stinging Nettle Soup

   “Alfred,” said Mother, “Just what am I going to do? As wonderful as Easter Sunday was, last Sunday was terrible. That Moana Crutchley! What am I going to do?”

            Alfred looked up from his new copy of the American Art Review and said, “What seems to be the difficulty Mother?”

            “You know, Alfred, that when Ima Hatchett left the Church I thought that we had weeded out the major source of complaining. But I was wrong. That Crutchley woman is quite onerous. What bothers me is that she is always carping about something. She is an authority about absolutely everything and she is just so negative. Everything must be performed to her expectations and she is always right. What confuses me is that she acts so spiritual, and when I listen to her pray; her prayers are so much more eloquent than mine.”

            “I’ve had a little experience with her myself Mother,” said Alfred. “Mind you, I think she does better with men than with women, but I’ve noticed that she’s a sharp shooter, and a subtle one at that. If you’re not careful you can wind up full of holes and you don’t know how you got them.”

            “That’s exactly what I have been experiencing Alfred,” said Mother.

            “Abbot Wigbert said that evil is like Whack-a-Mole game,” said Alfred. You bang it down in one place and it pops up in another. As Abbot Wigbert said, it’s just an uncomfortable part of growing in grace, but let me tell you a story that might help.”

            “One spring day when I was a little boy in short pants I was running in the garden behind our home when I ran through some bushes not realizing that they were stinging nettle. It hurt like billy-yo and I ran crying to the house. The first thing my mother did was gently rub off the area with cold water and a rag; then she applied a paste of baking soda and water.

            “She asked me where the stinging nettle was, because she said she had an interesting way of dealing with it. She put on some rubber gloves, took a plastic grocery bag, and a pair of clippers. Then we went to the back of the garden and I showed her where the stinging nettle patch was and she cut a bag full of stinging nettle.

            “When we got back to the kitchen she put the kettle on and when it came to a boil she put the stinging nettle in a sieve and poured hot water over it which took all the sting out it. Then she cut it up and cooked it with carrots, onions and potatoes, and made soup out of it.

            “It tasted OK, if you like that sort of thing, but I didn't really care for it because I remembered how much it stung; but my father thought the stinging nettle soup was quite fine.

            “Mother,” continued Alfred, “dealing with Moana is like dealing with stinging nettles. First, as much as you can, avoid going into the stinging nettle patch. Second don’t wear short pants in that part of the garden; you have to go in with your defences up. Third, you may need to handle encounters with her with kid gloves on. Having said that, remember that even stinging nettle has its uses. She probably can’t help what she is, and inside she’s probably just an unhappy, frightened woman.”

“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good” [Romans 8:28].

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