Frozen! People Should Never Act Like Peas

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Hello, dear friends! I’m Mr Freeze, Tom and Wilma’s faithful upright freezer!

When my masters asked me to tell you readers about frozen foods I naturally jumped at the opportunity. Well, actually I just sort of continued to stand in the corner of the room I share with Blue the SUV. (Which for some strange reason, Tom and Wilma refer to as the garage.) Anyway, the history of frozen foods is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. In fact, just thinking about it sends chills down my cooling coils!

Believe it or not, people have been preserving foods by freezing them for hundreds of years. Fishermen and trappers first started the trend by storing their fish and game in unheated buildings during the winter. They had learned, quite by accident, that freezing foods slows down and even halts the forces of nature — namely, the growth of bacteria which otherwise hastens spoilage. But the first large-scale commercial use of preserving foods by freezing was in 1899, when warehouses in Russia routinely shipped about 200,000 frozen chickens and geese to London each week, where specially devised cold-storage facilities kept the meat frozen until it went to local markets.
Later, in 1929, Clarence Birdseye introduced the American public to “flash freezing”: quick freezing reduces the formation of large ice crystals, which can damage the taste and texture of foods. The company started by Birdseye continues to be an innovator in the production of frozen dinners and vegetables. But today there are dozens of businesses producing what companies such as Swanson once called “TV dinners”; as well as frozen pizzas, pies, cakes and ice cream — mmm, just the sort of heartwarming comfort food I keep in my frosty compartments.

Further advancements in frozen foods came about out of necessity: during World War II, the U.S. Military researched better ways of freezing orange juice and dairy products for troops serving overseas; and in 1957, when then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Russia, the U.S. government devised new ways of packaging frozen foods for her trip. Speaking of Russia, I’ve always wanted to vacation in Siberia. I understand that year round the weather is quite lovely.

But enough about me and my passion for all things frozen. I want to share an interesting observation about people: some of them are frozen! Not literally, mind you. But remember that I said freezing stops the forces of nature? In a manner of speaking, it puts life on hold — and sometimes people want to do the same thing.

There’s a character in Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations who did just that: Miss Havisham stopped all the clocks in her house, then shut herself away from the world after she experienced a devastating disappointment. She was to be married, on what should have been the happiest day of her life. Many elaborate preparations had been made, including a long dining table exquisitely set and groaning beneath an abundance of gourmet foods; and crowning the center of the table, a wedding cake fit for a king and his queen.

All of Miss Havisham’s guests had arrived to join in the celebration, and together they waited with the bride-to-be — uncomfortably, for what seemed an interminable time — for the groom to arrive. But he never did. So, the wedding guests silently returned to their homes, and Miss Havisham, whose heart was broken, whose dreams died that day, withdrew
from the world. She cloistered herself in her darkened mansion, with all the wedding preparations left untouched, preserved as a burial shrine to her dead hopes. The clocks stopped ticking and she stopped “living”! Miss Havisham, for all intents and purposes, allowed herself to become mentally and spiritually “frozen in time”; trapped like an ancient relic in the ice of her own pain and grief; unable to move beyond the disappointments and bitter memories of a single moment.

Brrr, pretty dramatic, huh? But just like Miss Havisham, there are people today who, because of past hurts, mistakes and disappointments, are “frozen” in their own emotional and spiritual growth, no longer moving forward in life — no longer even enjoying life.

Have you made bad mistakes? Have you been severely hurt, betrayed, or disappointed? At some time or another, we all have. But the more important question is, were you “flash frozen” in your moment of grief and despair, anguish and disillusionment? Symptoms of being frozen include frequently reliving a past hurt, harboring a grudge, being afraid to trust again, or refusing to start over. If any of this describes you, it’s time to come in from the cold: take steps to forgive and forget; make a conscious decision to put the past behind you, and then start moving forward.

People should never act like peas!

It always helps to “get things off your chest” and out into the open, so consider talking to a trusted friend or a spiritual leader. If necessary, seek out a professional counselor. But above all, ask the God of all comfort to heal your emotional wounds. (2 Corinthians 1:3) “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 ESV)

There’s room for only one Mister Freeze around — and that’s me! But I only keep foods frozen! I like people well thawed! And unless you’re a box of snow peas, you shouldn’t allow anything to keep you frozen. Don’t allow someone who wronged you in the past to continue to steal your present peace and joy, or your future growth and happiness. Break out of the ice. To quote the lyrics of a popular song from Disney’s Frozen, if there’s something bothering you, “Let it go!”

“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NLT)

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Spiritual Easy Off! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Hey, lady! There’s got to be an easier way!

A long time ago, in a kitchen far far away … we had one of those old-style ovens that had to be manually cleaned. We’d spray this formula called Easy Off! onto the walls of the oven — the label stated “No scrubbing necessary” (Heh! Yeah, right!) — then close the door and switch on the heat. An hour or two later there was this stinky sludge caked to the oven walls, which had to be sponged off. It was dark-brown and slimy and downright disgusting. We’d wear gloves while wiping it clean, but always managed to get greasy glop on our exposed arms.

But hey, it had to be done. A clean oven is a happy oven. Not to mention that a clean oven functions more efficiently — and doesn’t embarrass you when guests peak inside it to see what’s for dinner. So we really didn’t mind doing it. Well, maybe just a little. All right, all right, we hated it!

Then one day Sparky came into our lives! No, he’s not a professional oven cleaner — he IS our oven! And he’s self-cleaning!!! Which is a real blessing because, face it, in life stuff happens! For instance, while baking an apple pie, the lava-hot filling often bursts through the crust, flowing through the rack like magma to the oven floor below, where it hardens into rock!

I’m Sparky, and I’m pretty cool for an oven!

Not a problem! Sparky goes into his self-cleaning mode at the flip of a switch. When he does, he goes into full lockdown. You couldn’t pry his door open with a crowbar! And that’s when things really get hot — literally. We usually give Sparky plenty of space while he’s self-cleaning, about a four-hour process in which our oven incinerates all the crud that’s built up inside of him during the course of his kitchen duties!

Know what? That’s right, people are like ovens: in life, we tend to build up a crusty layer of stuff, and we need cleaning if we’re to be happy (like Sparky) and function efficiently. Things in life have a way of getting messy just like that apple pie filling. Regrets and feelings of hurt, guilt and shame can bubble over and leave us feeling “cruddy”; and if not dealt with, this layer of gunk can separate us, or make us feel distant, from our Heavenly Father.

But unlike Sparky, none of us have a self-cleaning feature. Oh, some of us think we do. We have a relative who once mentioned that he plans to get “right” with God one day, and even start going to church, but first he needs to “clean up his act.” Don’t we all? But that is NOT a prerequisite for being accepted by God. Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us with open arms. He’s inviting us to come as we are. “…He has made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 American King James)

Some of us believe we can’t face God until we get out of an improper relationship, or stop drinking, abusing drugs, etc. Only we’re like those old-fashioned ovens. We’re good at cooking up a mess — even when we’re trying to be “good” — but we don’t have the right “formula” to de-gunk ourselves; or the “muscle” needed to scrub the innermost parts of our lives.

Not to worry. God does! And He has NEVER expected us to try  to clean up our own messes before approaching Him. That’s why He sent us His only Son as a Savior. Jesus Christ is the real, Spiritual Easy Off! (No scrubbing necessary!) So, don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise!

But again, that’s why God accepts us as we are: who we are and where we are. He recognizes a good oven when He sees one, despite the grime on the inside. After the “oven” is in “His house,” then He sets about cleaning it (us) … until it sparkles like new. And as with an oven, He cleans us from the inside out! In other words, God loves us as we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay that way!

“But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (Acts 2:21 NLT)

Are you feeling gunked up today? Not “cooking” as smoothly as you should? Call out to your Heavenly Father. He collects ovens of all colors and models, and then restores them to showroom condition: sparkling clean inside and out!

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

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