Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18
It happened just like that. I love grits…a lot. I know some of you have no idea what grits are and have never tried them. If you are from the North, I understand. If you are from the South, well, that’s just inexcusable. The problem with grits is that people want to mess with them by adding things like sugar and milk. Listen…you don’t mess with Texas and you don’t mess with grits. When you add those two things to grits it changes their DNA and whatever it becomes it is no longer grits. It may be the same consistency, but sugar and milk robs grits of their heart and soul.
There are things you can add to grits. The first three things on the list are salt, pepper and butter. Grits were meant to be seasoned so don’t think a sprinkle of this, or a dash of that will get the job done. You need to grab the that salt shaker and get serious and do the same thing with the pepper. Someone will say that salt is bad for your blood pressure. Well, some things are worth the sacrifice. The other things that bring grits to life are bacon, cheese and amazingly, shrimp. I’m telling you…grits are not the breakfast of champions…grits are the champion of breakfast. If you learn to eat them right…you will never go back and the only question you will ask is, “Why did it take me so long?
I should have asked that question sooner in another season of my life. It was late summer of 1974 and I was coming out of a relationship that had gone on way too long. It was just time for it to end and it did. I was in the Air Force and trust me an Air Force base nine miles from town in South Georgia can be a lonely place. Imagine a bowl of grits without the salt, pepper, and butter and that was me. And then on a Wednesday night I decided to go to a local church. Now I had done church all of my life, but walking into a strange church, by myself, on a Wednesday night, was not in my comfort zone. But this bowl of grits needed some seasoning. So, I went hoping I would meet someone who might add some seasoning to my life. And, just like that, it happened.
That night, I walked in the side door of the church and there was a small group of young ladies standing by the piano. One, and only one, caught my eye. Her name was Judy Allen and that night was the beginning of a love story that has now stretched into a 45 year adventure of life and love. I guess she was a little too young and maybe I was a little too old, but it was a different time and the bottom line…we fell in love. That Georgia peach stole my heart and has never given it back. I never thought of it this way, but I guess grits and peaches go together after all.
Through the decades and years, we have journeyed together…sometimes across town and sometimes across the world. We built a legacy together that includes our three daughters, their husbands, and our grandkids…all eight of them. We first served our country together as an Air Force family and then served our God as a team—side by side in four different churches over 39 years. At each stop, I was the grits, and she was the seasoning. She was and is a gifted servant in her own right, but she was also the salt, pepper, and butter that made me a better bowl of grits, a better man…a better pastor. I fully understand what God meant when He said in Genesis, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Well, thank you God for that one.
Grits (what I write not the ones you eat) is just one more example of her seasoning me—encouraging me. She had been nudging me for years to write and I simply wouldn’t listen. And then COVID came along and on a whim, I wrote a very short story and posted it and almost a year later my fingers are still mashing keys. What you may not know is that Judy once again was there to season my frail attempts. She developed the blog and the Facebook page, and she proofs my words then designs the graphics. She adds flavor to Grits—and our life and our ministry.
So, on purpose and without apology, let me tell her and you, just how much I love her and how grateful I am for the seasonings she has brought to my life. There are two things I know. First, I can’t imagine what life would have been if I hadn’t gone to church that night. See, you oughta go to church! But second, I can’t imagine what life would have been if this particular someone, by God’s amazing grace, hadn’t walked with me all these years. It seemed she always knew just how much salt, how much pepper and how much butter to add to this ole bowl of grits…and I love her for it.
So, there you go. It’s a grits love story. If you’ve tried grits (the ones you eat…not the ones you’re reading) and didn’t like them…you probably just didn’t have them seasoned right. You might want to give them another try. And if you have someone in your life that, honestly, just feels a little bland, like grits without the good stuff, don’t give up on them. Go ahead and be the seasoning in their life. You might be amazed, just like I was, how a little salt, a little pepper, and some butter can make a bowl of ground corn taste amazingly good. Oh, and then, don’t forget to also thank God because He’s the One who made it all possible anyway. I’ve learned, and I am still learning, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne