There is something about me that makes cashiers trust me and want to share intimate life stories with me. Maybe it’s my striking resemblance to Ann Landers. Maybe it’s just living in a small town where everyone is your best friend.
The other day the girls and I were checking out of a store that will remain nameless. (This is a SMALL town, ya’all.) The sweet lady checking us out noticed me yawning, and gave me her best advice.
“Did you know that Mountain Dew is just JUICE? That’s right. It’s just juice. All natural. Why, even FRUCTOSE is natural, it’s just fruit. In fact, all I drink is Mountain Dew, Milk, and Water.” She goes on to espouse the benefits of this wonder drink, and how much energy she has, and how horrid the other caramel colored pops are, and tea, and how mountain dew is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.
And my children are listening.
I smile. I comment, “Really? Mmmmhmmm. Wow, I never heard that before.” I give her my best Ann Landers / Cheshire Cat smile. We pay. We leave. We remain on the list of people not yet black balled in small town.
Next stop. Dollar General. On the way to the back of the store, we happen to walk down the Aisle of Premature Death. I mean, the Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Chips and Processed Foods Aisle.
I pick up a bottle of Mountain Dew.
“Girls, this is Mountain Dew. This is the drink that the grown up lady at the store said was Just Juice, and All Natural. Let’s see what’s in it. I read the ingredients: carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, concentrated orange juice, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, caffeine, sodium citrate, erythorbic acid, gum arabic, calcium disodium EDTA, brominated vegetable oil (I later learn this is a banned ingredient in Europe, India & Japan), and yellow 5.”
My daughters are horrified. Like I’ve just made them watch Children of the Corn before bed. Horrified.
“Mommy! I don’t even know what most of that stuff IS!!! The only word I knew was….Corn Syrup!!!” And corn syrup is a dirty word around our house.
Now I have a chance to talk to my darling daughters about Truth. And Discernment. And not believing everything someone says just because they’re a grown up. Or a teacher. Or a doctor. Or a dentist. Or even your mommy or daddy. Just like the check out lady, we may truly believe that we are right. We may not want to know that we are wrong. But we could still be wrong.
Darling Daughters, you have to think for yourselves. You have to know what you believe and why you believe it. You have to know where to look for the truth. You have to know when to fight for the truth and when to smile like a cheshire cat and walk away before things get ugly.
Because next time it may not be something as benign as Mountain Dew.
As much as I hate it, this world is a scary place. We may live in a small town, but it’s pretty hard to stick your head in the sand and pretend that everything is hunkey dorey out there.
Someday, our children are going to have to know what they believe and why they believe it. Their life may depend on it.
More importantly, their Eternal Life depends on it.
This isn’t Mountain Dew versus Kombucha.
It’s Heaven versus Hell.
Life versus Death.
Like it or not, we are in the battle. We can pretend it’s all peace and roses while the stench of death fills the air. Or we can get on our knees and pray for the strength to stand firm.
I’ve never been a Preacher. Preachess? Ummm, you know what I mean. But this is important stuff. If I can help point you in the right direction, let me know. Post a comment. Send me a message. I may not know the answer, but I know where to find it. And it’s not on the back of Mountain Dew.
"Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Fight on, dear friends.
PS. I wrote this back in December 2015. Back when I didn’t know what tired was. Today, Mountain Dew sounds kind-of-sort-of-awesome, in a death defying, jump out of an airplane for the adrenaline, kind of way. But I'd still rather jump out of a plane than drink that stuff.