Monday, October 12, 2015

Bon Ami

Alright, I admit it! I tilt somewhat claustrophobic. I had not realized that until a few years back when I had a MRI after falling off a stepladder and fracturing my collarbone. I still remember lying down in that MRI tube, with it just about touching my nose, hearing the machine groan and clang, and the seemingly never-ending wait time for the test to begin. It all set my heart into an anxiety spiral. I recall yelling out to the technician, "Get me out of this machine."

Over the years my concern of confined spaces have expanded. Elevators (short rides are okay). The Lincoln or Holland Tunnels going into New York (the George Washington Bridge is always an alternate route, but that has its own set of issues). And cold, dank caves, too.

Speaking of caves. Last week we took a fall foliage trip to Little Switzerland, North Carolina located in the Appalachian Mountains. We decided to visit the Bon Ami mine as well. It was the original location where feldspar was mined and turned into Bon Ami cleanser. When French-speaking people first used the cleaning product, they were so impressed they exclaimed "bon ami" which translates as "good friend."

The day we visited the mine was picture perfect until I looked down toward the mine now flooded and not looking like a good friend. There were 35 steps downhill to the entrance, and the guide said the mine itself was hundreds of feet long. It sounded  like a humongous MRI tube to me. I made a sharp U-turn and headed for the gift shop to buy a bag of M&Ms. Somehow candy moderates anxiety.

Days after the trip to the mountains, I reflected on a few things about Bon Ami.

The first thought was on God's ability to overcome our fears. Second Timothy 1:7 reminds us: ... for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Bon Ami also speaks of having a friend. John 5:13 speaks of our ultimate friend Christ and his sacrifice on the cross: Greater love has no one than this ... that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Finally, Jesus is the ultimate cleanser of our lives. No matter how much we trip and fall back, the Lord provides us with an opportunity to be cleansed of all unrighteousness and made whole again.

Robert Parlante
October 2015

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