I’ve been away for two days and blown the diet. Forgive me Helen, my fab healthy eating guru friend. It was the marmalade that made me do it. Here is the little mini message that was on the underside of the mini marmalade pot I opened each morning at breakfast. (Yes, I know, opening the marmalade was the first mistake) but lo, I was being exhorted to live life at an aspirational level!
EAT WELL, LOVE LIFE
So I did eat well… just not quite in the ‘eating well way’ required when one is trying to lose weight.
(The first night we had an absolutely yummy pizza. Here is the pan size compared to David’s head!)
Yum, Yum and more Yum. Well, if you going to step out of line you may as well enjoy it.
But since when have we needed to put little motivational messages on the inside of mini marmalade pots? What is that all about?
There was a time when you could reliably expect information: weight of contents, origin of ingredients and so on. Now we no longer get information. We are given ‘formation’: little uplifting sayings which are meant to inspire us.
At one level I approve of this because I love words. And words are indeed powerful. Words can be used in such a way that they work within us, they bring health and wholeness, vitality, holiness, wisdom and hope.
We do indeed need words that are beyond the merely informational. Rarely would anyone’s life be transformed by the phrase “Weight:50g. Made in Dewsbury”.
“Eat well. Love life” is a great example of a little formational phrase but context is everything. On the inside of a marmalade pot? Really? If this is now the place for wise words, what hope is there for the British Library, for the works of Shakespeare, for the Bible?
Several Bible characters were handed the texts of Holy Scriptures and told to eat them. Not to examine them, not to analyse them forensically with a distant cool objectivity but to eat them. It’s a fabulous metaphor. To take a truth and so internalise it that it strengthens and grows you, changes you and becomes part of who you are.
On one occasion when Jesus was feeling despondent he turned to his disciples and asked them if they were leaving him too, “Lord, to whom shall we go” they said “you have the words of eternal life….”
Twenty years later, I still make your lovely yoghurt muffins from time to time. Enjoy your marmalade!