Note From Author: Would you care to join me on a 10-week health challenge? And get paid to join and complete it? Though my primary purpose is to build bone and muscle strength as I deal with my hereditary osteoporosis, many people lose 10 pounds or more with the “Body For Life” fitness challenge.
Or read more about this at my last Meridian article here.
I have a personal belief that Mary, the mother of the Savior, was a mesmerizing storyteller. Perhaps that was one of her special traits that she passed on to her divine Son. How lovely it is to think of her tucking her tired little boy into bed with a story, or cuddled up with her arms wrapped around him during the long days of his childhood. We know there were brothers and sisters, and how delightful it is to picture them and their friends all gathered around her telling an exciting and purposeful story. It’s not difficult to imagine that she helped Him become not only a master story teller, but one who would create not only stories but experiences for the telling and for the treasuring forever after, tales that have become an endless treasure trove for everyone from best-selling authors and Hollywood — to simple parents who know what matters most.
After sharing the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, His disciples, knowing there was more to it than most of the listeners were ready to understand, asked why He didn’t just come right out and express himself more clearly. Jesus replied that it was important not to give more than his listeners were ready for. (He no doubt also knew the compelling element of suspense in good storytelling!)
“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they seeing see not and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”
One who did hear, but could not see was a blind man. Though unnamed in the miracle presented in John 9:1-12, he was not unnamed or unknown to the Savior. Though blind from birth, his heart had seen and felt the power of the Savior and he came to Jesus with faith to be healed.
It is fascinating to me that for this individual, the Savior chose to spit upon the ground, then make a bit of clay, or mud, with his finger. He then anointed the eyes of the man with the clay and told him to “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.
I think tenderly of that blind man who had not ever seen a robin in the spring, or a sunset, or the smile of a loved one. Can you imagine the tenderness of the Savior’s fingers, the moist warm mud, and the gently stroking as He lovingly applied it? Can’t you just hear the gasp of the crowd as the man opened his eyes and experienced light for the first time in his life?
How often would I love for Him to stroke my eyes and heal my own blindness! After all, are not each of us blind in some measure? From birth through our own personalities and weaknesses, we add the shortcomings and limitations that are part of every life and family. Then we layer on more blindness that is acquired from the rest of life’s experiences as we mature from infancy, through youth to adulthood. Who among us is not blind, and in great need of the Master’s touch with a bit of mud …. For clarity and healing! For charity and health on every level!
The Savior used a bit of mud, and though he may not be present to apply it, oh, how there is mud all about us that can become a healing balm, even His healing balm as if He were present.
One of the blindnesses that many of us struggle with (though often on a subliminal level) is the notion that food can be a healer, that comfort and peace comes in something to eat that is wrapped in crinkly bags and loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Food that tastes “yummy” in a synthetic way that is chemically calculated to make us want more and more, even when it is not good for us.
For those of us who struggle with healthy eating, the message is crystal clear: It is not a parable. Natural food comes from the earth. From mud. Not from an industrial plant, but a farm. The Lord created dirt as a place for food to grow – nutritious food that would beautifully nourish and heal His precious children. It is delicious and it is good for our bodies and lives, created to delight and please us in every way.
“Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. (D&C 59:17-20)
The Savior grew up and lived at a time when there simply were no industrialized foods. They thrived on grains and produce grown in the locale and from fish that were caught from the sea, and meat from livestock that they cared for. When real, authentic food is the primary source of nutrition, our bodies are in a much better ability to function as they were meant to.
For many people, as they turn away from over-processed and industrialized foods (the “white” foods that have been stripped of fiber and nutrients) their bodies make a remarkable turn-around. The feel better, look better, function better and are literally healed.
I visited this week with a dear friend whose brilliant college-aged son has lost 60 pounds over the past year or so. “Mom,” he told her, “I never knew I was overweight! I don’t know how I was blind to it until now, or maybe it just wasn’t important.” On a student’s budget he began to buy as many of the inexpensive fruits and vegetables as he could afford, opting for them instead of college fast food and junk food. He found a source for a protein drink that built up muscles, and began to work out with weights at the gym on campus.
A year later, he’s seeing the world from a much different, and healed point of view.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the expression “clear as mud”. The definition for this delightful idiom is “If something is as clear as mud, then it is very confusing and unclear,” which is exactly how many of the nutrition labels feel to me. Now that is an example of “clear as mud.”
But the Savior knew differently and healed a blind man unto perfect vision with mud. We can know differently as well! He can heal us as well as allow Him to touch our lives and our spiritual eyes as we allow our most personally challenging and “muddy” experiences” be nutritious emotional and spiritual food for personal growth.
And for those of us who struggle with healthy eating? There’s precious comfort in knowing that He can heal our blindness and lack of interest in healthy living through delicious foods that grow in the earth, with His sun and light shining upon them. It’s another of the countless ways He shows his love for us, that is our choice to accept … or ignore.
We can show our love for Him by respecting those principles of health, healing and vision as we include as many all natural foods into our diets as possible.
One of my dear friends calls fruit “Heavenly Father’s candy.” Clear as mud? You bet!
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.
She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.
She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where they are delighted to teach Missionary Preparation for the Annandale Stake CES Institute program.