By Rev. Tony Marciano
When I was little – OK, pre-K – I was a neat freak. I liked to stay clean. That probably lined up with the fact that when I entered kindergarten, I wore a white shirt and a clip-on bowtie until spring of third grade. Being a Baby Boomer, I rebelled against parental tyranny at the tender age of 9. No, I didn’t get a tattoo. I did say to my mother “No more.” The last few months of third grade, I wore colored plaid shirts and lost the bowties. That is until I was in college when disco became the rage. By then, I was wearing crushed velour bowties. I still have a green crushed velour clip on bowtie.
In the early 1960s, the toy manufacturer Marx came out with a giant orange bulldozer, which I received for my birthday. I still remember the commercial, “Don’t worry about the bulldozer, worry about the tree.” I loved it. Dirt and I became best of friends. My fingernails were a disaster area to the dismay of my mother as I played in the dirt of our backyard.
When I started working on cars, it was nothing for me to cut my hands and watch the blood and grease co-mingle.
Dirt and I were friends. More recently, I’ve begun to eat dirt. Let me explain.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried to clean up my diet. Compared to eight years ago, I am 30 pounds lighter. Three years ago, I gave up artificially sweetened beverages. Last year for Lent, I gave up meat and dairy products for 10 days. This year, I gave it up for 21 days.
With all that diet change, I’ve still felt tired. Maybe it’s that I stay up too late, get up too early and don’t get my seven hours of sleep. I’m also older and know that with age, you don’t have the energy you had when you were younger.
I found myself on the internet doing research when I came across ads for beet juice. I don’t eat beets; especially pickled beets. I’m scared the beet juice will jump onto my shirt and stain it. Since we have a juicer, I asked my wife to make me some beet juice from beets. The juice was that deep rich purple, the color of beets. My wife added apple juice so it was easier to swallow. By the third glass, I noticed that it tasted something that took me back to my childhood; I tasted dirt. While she washed them thoroughly before making the beet juice, somehow, the beets had taken on the taste of the dirt. Each time I drank a glass, I could clearly taste dirt.
The beets took on the environment where they grew – the dirt. While the beet color was evident, there was the subtle taste of dirt. I laughed when I tasted it. You can’t see it, but the taste is there.
The same is true for you and me. We become like the people we spend time with. My grandfather always said, “Be careful who your friends are, you’ll become like them.”
The Rescue Mission residents say, “If you hang out in a barbershop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.” There is a scripture verse that says, “Bad morals corrupts good behavior.”
Let me encourage you to hang out with people who are positive, who don’t gossip or talk trash about their spouse. Spend time with people that are grateful, caring and generous toward others. Watch how it positively affects your life.
I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.
Rev. Tony Marciano is the executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Find more information at www.charlotterescuemission.org.