Food for Thought by Leigh Currey Merrifield, Editor

I think I’ll change things up a bit this week and offer “dessert” first.

In fact, you can call it a “dessert bar” because it will feature several selections and you can choose the one you like best!  Here are a few quotations I’d like you to consider ….

  • “If you continue to harbor bitterness, happiness is sure to dock elsewhere.”
  • “The soul shows its strength when it forgives an injury.”
  • “A bad temper brings out the best in steel, but the worst in people.”
  • “One should not waste valuable time and resources on anger.”
  • “Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst.”
  • “Resentment is an extremely bitter diet that is eventually poisonous.”

Among some of the lessons we are taught when we are young are to be patient and tolerant … to be forgiving … to not seek “an eye for an eye”, but to turn the other cheek.  I’ll bet that many of you have heard these statements at one time or another from an adult figure in your life.

Everything featured on this week’s “dessert bar” suggests to us that we should forgive and forget when we are wronged, and it’s pretty good advice.  Even in the Bible, God is quoted as saying “Vengeance is mine”.  God must have understood that it was a natural thing for humans to feel like striking back when we are wronged, but He prefers that we not seek revenge ourselves – leave it to Him.

And then … there is dear old Maxine.  Her attitude is – “Don’t get mad; get EVEN!”  However, we must remember that her advice is meant to be for the sake of humor and not necessarily to be followed.  After all, that is how wars get started; countries redress some insult or injury and soldiers lose their lives seeking that retribution.  Revenge can be very destructive.

Let’s say, for example, a student is bullied at school.  Schools want to maintain civility, so while they might understand your desire to punch out the bully, they also cannot encourage violence.  When we are injured, we are not supposed to seek justice on our own because most of the time, one act of revenge leads to another and the situation escalates.  Revenge is seldom sweet.

HOWEVER … Let me share with you a couple of ‘funnies’ that involve revenge …

Jack had plans one Saturday to go to a football game with the guys to see their Florida Gators play.  His wife Mary had been begging him for weeks to hang the Christmas lights around the eaves of the house.  She was FURIOUS that once again he was putting off the ONE thing she wanted him to do!  After a lengthy argument, Jack finally gave in and said he would do it before he left.  A happy little camper then, Mary took off for the grocery store.  When she returned, he had left her a note – “I hung the lights – off to the ball game!”  She went outside and looked and WAS NOT happy to find all the lights rolled up and hanging around the lantern beside the back door.  Yes, he had “hung” them alright!  This called for revenge, so when Jack returned, he too found a note on the counter, saying “Thanks for the wonderful job you did hanging the lights; in return, I washed your car!  Off to go shopping!”  Jack found his car in the pool!

Now, if you have a really wicked sense of humor, enjoy this one!  Jane was having a hard time accepting that her husband Tom, after 25 years of marriage, wanted a divorce because he was in love with his secretary.  Tom asked Jane to get her things together and move out of their house.  Jane packed up her personal belongings and had some friends help her move them out, but during her last night in her home, she indulged in a bottle of wine, a jar of carviar, and feasted on a pound of shrimp.  Suddenly, Maxine’s advice to “get even” came to mind!

She went into each and every room and deposited several half-eaten shrimp dipped in caviar into the hollow of the curtain rods.  Then she closed the door and left.  Tom returned the next day with his secretary, and they planned to live happily ever after.  EXCEPT, after a few days, the house began to smell.  They tried everything – mopping, opening windows, spraying room freshener, but to no avail.  They checked the vents for dead rodents, had the carpet cleaned, called exterminators, but nothing worked.  The maid quit; friends no longer stopped by; and they put the house up for sale!  ‘Lookers’ were repulsed by the odor, and word spread.  Soon, no one would even look at the house.  Tom told Jane, without all the details, that the house had kind of a funny odor, and she seized the opportunity.  She said she would be willing to give him the contents of the house and even reduce her settlement in exchange for getting her home back.  Tom agreed if she would sign the papers right away, and within a matter of hours, the paperwork was prepared.  The very next day, Tom and his girlfriend stood smiling as the movers packed up to move them out, and taking her at her word that he could have ALL the contents, he also took the curtain rods!

Perhaps, once in a while, revenge IS sweet!