Shake Well Before Use.

(Thompson’s Water Seal)

Good friends gave time, talent, and labor to build red cedar benches for the library’s learning garden. I agreed to do the waterproofing before the benches get anchored in place just outside the children’s library. Since I’d never done this before, I made sure to read the instructions, including shake well before use. A few lines down from this advice, I was also reminded to stir often for best results; shaking keeps the various elements from separating – necessary for the sealant to work properly.

Oddly enough, the same advice can be found on shampoo, apple cider, and zesty italian dressing. All the different parts separate, like sticking to like, lining up according to weight or viscosity. It takes a good shake to bring everything together, and an occasional stir to stop the separation from returning.

I think this is wise advice for life. Sometimes things need to be shaken up to work well. Prayer, work, and play are all wonderful and necessary for a good life – a life that preserves the body and soul, a life lived serving others wherever it is anchored. Our vital elements should be mixed up every so often. Playful prayer, prayerful play; prayerful work, working prayer. Play with work, and work on keeping play a central part of life. Without a good shake and the occasional stirring, things come apart; like unshaken salad dressing, it leaves a bad taste to life.

As with all words of wisdom and power, it’s important to know when these particular words apply. Shake it up when it fosters the best life possible. Don’t shake fragile things or people. Like glass, they’ll shatter. That’s when these directions come in handy: Handle with care. Ask for assistance.

For more information on this series, see “Use Your Words” on the About page.

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