The first Thursday of each month is a busy one. It is on this day that I go to an out-of-town rehabilitation center and lecture close to 100 men, in multiple classes, about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and the impact it has upon them and their families. My schedule necessitates that I have to leave early so this morning I decided to take my coffee with me. I prepared it with cream and sweetener, placed it in a cup with a top and sat it by the front door so I would remember to grab it when I picked up my bag.
I’ve done this countless times before and never had a problem. However, today, after I got ready, picked up my bag, I opened the door and spilled the coffee everywhere. I ran and grabbed a few paper towels, cleaned up the mess and had about a 1/3 of a cup left over. I had the cup in one hand, the bag over my shoulder, the keys in my other hand. Locking the door I turned around and somehow, someway, caught my foot on a rug on the porch, twisted my ankle, and came crashing down on my left knee scraping it in several places. To top it off the rest of the coffee was now on the porch and stoop. In that moment, I sat the cup upright, left it on the porch and drove off.
There are times in life where something we want, desire, crave just wasn’t meant to be ours. We may fight for it, jump through hoops, feel we’ve earned it but in the end, it wasn’t meant to be. How we react when we realize our quest is futile is key to acceptance and contentment. Do we let go and move on or do we continue to grab at what refuses to be grasped?
This morning I burnt my tongue. I drank too much coffee, too fast and am paying the price. I’ve scalded my tongue before and it hurts, every time. I don’t like the pain or the sensation when I rub it against the roof of my mouth. There are treatments I could try to dull the discomfort but, from experience, time is the greatest healer.
As I’ve dealt with my injury this morning I’ve reflected on both the damage a tongue can receive and deliver. What if hot beverages and spicy foods weren’t the only ways to harm our tongues? What would happen if our tongues were burnt when we used words that were too hot, highly charged, and injured another? What if our speech inflicted wounds upon us when they did to our brothers and sisters? How much more careful might we be with careless, rushed, rude, insulting, judgmental language if we too felt the pain our words can cause?