You can’t have your cake and eat it too

Record Observer - - RELIGION -

I was wait­ing in line at the gro­cery store mind­ing my own busi­ness, which is a full-time job these days. I have worked hard over the years to mas­ter this “mind­ing my own busi­ness.” I have not been all that suc­cess­ful, but I still try.

As I was stand­ing in line I heard the woman be­hind me say, “Johnny, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

I did not know the back­ground story be­cause I did not hear the whole con­ver­sa­tion. When I heard that my mind took me back to those thrilling days of yes­ter­year when my par­ents, both of them ad­dicted to this phrase, said to me, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

I can­not re­mem­ber the rea­sons that this phrase kept pop­ping up in my par­ents’ con­ver­sa­tion. But I never could fig­ure out what in the world they were talk­ing about.

Through the years, I have no­ticed peo­ple say things they have no idea what they are say­ing or what it even means. Some­times peo­ple will say some odd phrase or a quote in or­der to bring the con­ver­sa­tion to a stand­still.

My par­ents were not in­ter­ested, par­tic­u­larly when we were out in pub­lic, for me to carry the con­ver­sa­tion. Many times, they would shut me down so that I would not em­bar­rass them.

Also, I never could fig­ure out why some­body on the stage would be en­cour­aged to “break their leg.” It is not a rather mean thing to say to some­one who is about to go out on stage and do some kind of per­for­mance? What mean per­son would hope that some­one would break their leg in front of an au­di­ence?

Some­one said to me re­cently, “May the force be with you.” I knew the movie he was quot­ing from but I had no idea what he meant for me. What is the force he wanted to be with me? More­over, what if I didn’t want that force to be with me?

We of­ten say things we do not un­der­stand or mean and I am as guilty as any­body else.

When some­thing tragic hap­pens some re­li­gious minded per­son will say, par­tic­u­larly some­one on tele­vi­sion, “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”

What in the world does that mean? What thoughts do they have, what prayers do they have, and how in the world can they trans­fer it to me? Usu­ally the per­son say­ing this is some­one who is not very re­li­gious.

I do not know what came over me, but once some­body, I for­get the sit­u­a­tion, said, “My thoughts and prayers are with you.” For the life of me, I do not know what I was think­ing about, but all of a sud­den, I heard my­self say­ing to that per­son, “Thanks but I don’t need your prayers.”

Why I said that I don’t know, but I do know that the per­son that said it to me was about as re­li­gious as a dead cock­roach. If you don’t pray on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, why do I want your prayers?

But back to my days of youth. I can­not re­mem­ber how many times my par­ents, both just as guilty as the other, said to me, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

I am still as con­fused today as I was then. If I have my cake, why in the world can’t I eat it? Af­ter all, it’s my cake. If it wasn’t my cake, I don’t think I would eat it.

How­ever, the most dis­turb­ing thing was when­ever my par­ents told me that there was no cake in view. For ex­am­ple, the young boy stand­ing in the line be­hind me had no cake on his mind when his mother told him that.

Once when my par­ents said that to me, I said, “What cake?”

My mother looked at me and said, “If you don’t know, I’m sure I can’t tell you.”

Now I was re­ally con­fused. She is talk­ing about a cake but she can­not tell me what cake it is. Her as­sump­tion is that I know about the cake she is talk­ing about when in fact, I have no idea about the cake she is talk­ing about. I have no scru­ples about eat­ing my cake, but I like to know where it is at.

My fa­ther tried to ex­plain to me one time by say­ing, “Once you eat the cake, it’s no longer yours.”

Where are par­ents trained to be par­ents? If I eat the cake, whose cake is it? In fact, if I do not eat the cake there is a dan­ger that some­body else might eat my cake and I sure do not want that to hap­pen.

I think the most dis­turb­ing time in a per­son’s life is when they find them­selves talk­ing like their par­ents. I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber the time when my kids wanted to do some­thing and I re­sponded by say­ing, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Say­ing things that we do not quite un­der­stand of­ten gets us into dif­fi­culty par­tic­u­larly with fam­ily. I won­der if the apos­tle Paul had this in mind when he writes, “Let no cor­rupt com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­ceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of ed­i­fy­ing, that it may min­is­ter grace unto the hear­ers” (Eph­e­sians 4:29).

I must be care­ful that I am us­ing words that en­cour­age peo­ple rather than con­fuse them.

Dr. James L. Sny­der is pas­tor of the Fam­ily of God Fel­low­ship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Sil­ver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or email jamess­ny­der2@att. net. The church web­site is www.whatafel­low­

POND­TOWN — Spe­cial guest Rev. Sharon Smith of Tampa, Fla., will speak at the 11 a.m. ser­vice Sun­day, May 14, at Boardly Chapel AME Church. All are wel­come. The Rev. Ellsworth Tol­liver is pas­tor.

CH­ESTER­TOWN — Hope Fel­low­ship Church, 892 Wash­ing­ton Ave., will hold a “Night of Hope” at 7 p.m. Satur­day, May 13, for any­one strug­gling with a life con­trol­ling ad­dic­tion. Tes­ti­monies will be shared about the strug­gles of life and ad­dic­tion and a mes­sage of hope will be given.

The church is lo­cated on Route 213 across from McDon­ald’s in Ch­ester­town. For in­for­ma­tion, call 410-778-3577 or see www.ctown­

CHESTER — Han­nah Circle at Kent Is­land United Methodist Church will hold a Shred-It com­mu­nity event from 9 a.m. to noon Satur­day, May 20, in the park­ing lot of the church on Cox Neck Road.

Bring your un­wanted and out-dated pa­pers to be shred­ded safely by All-Shred Inc.

Do­na­tions will ben­e­fit chil­dren’s mis­sions projects.

For in­for­ma­tion, con­tact She­lia at 410-643-5361.

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