Artist's Lane: Peace and chocolate


By Betty Slade

PREVIEW Columnist

I can’t believe it. I never saw myself as that kind of a person. I never even thought I could be enticed that way. Before, when my Sweet Al took pleasure in it, I was critical. Sorry to say, I have fallen headfirst into this feverish addiction. 

In this crazy and chaotic world, only heaven knows what’s going on beyond what we see and hear. But it’s that, like a box of chocolate dumped out on the table, the headlines, a mix of temptation vying for my attention. As any good closet eater does, I’ve become void of discipline. I can’t wait to try every random taste and texture that lays in wait. 

I knew I was in trouble when one of my children said, “Why are you snapping at me?” Then another, “You used to be so peaceful, what’s wrong?”

Used to be peaceful? When did I snap at anyone? I think I’m a fairly happy person, but, apparently, I’m not. To be honest, there is only one thing that I can attribute any change in attitude — the delicacy, or better yet, the dismay of the day.

Yes, I am on edge and addicted to the news. In the beginning, there were little nuggets wrapped in curious packaging that baited me. Now, it seems as if I want to savor every nut and tooth-decaying commentary that comes my way. 

How could anyone look forward to the decadence of the day, a mix of hate, violence and chaos? 

Every day you hear of another attempt to undermine the constitution. On the heels of that, you see gleeful expressions on the faces of those who want to burn our flag. Recently, there were day-long discussions over replacing the national anthem, then someone suggested we place hand in pledge on the Quran and not on the Bible.

Last night, I saw someone roundhouse kick a man unconscious, who had just been pushed to the ground by another passerby. 

My heart and mind are becoming completely unraveled. Surely someone will stand and draw the line. 

I shudder to think how much of the airwaves I have consumed. One thing for certain, it is enough to make me sick. Yet, like eating from that box of chocolate, what started as a simple seduction has taken me from inquisitive to compulsion. One bite at a time. 

Realizing how others see me, I turned to the only place where I know that I can find peace. The Bible. Much like today, the disciples of Christ felt confused and helpless when their own world was turned upside down. I can’t even begin to imagine how they must have felt when they saw the only one they believed in, left to die on a tree, a death by exhaustion and asphyxiation reserved only for the worst of the condemned. 

Fortunately, the news of that day didn’t end after a review of morning headlines. Three days later, Jesus appeared to his followers with a news story that only he could tell. Mankind’s darkest hour was eclipsed not once, but twice, by the declaration, “Shalom Aleichem.” Peace I give to you. Far greater than the achievement of any journal citation came a message of shalom — peace, fullness, rest, wholeness, welfare, completion, well-being and safety. 

My box of chocolates is the overwhelming message coming from the television. For others, it is the mixed message received from their church or community leaders. Regardless, there seems to be no shortage of confectioneries to sample, layers upon layers void of anything that resembles wholeness or well-being. 

Final brushstroke: Fortunately, God’s wisdom is greater than the variety of bite-sized indulgences we encounter each day. While those will only leave us sick to our stomach, his message is one of total control. A message of peace, power and wisdom, the only one we can trust. 

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