Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.” Proverbs 26:4
It was deadly but I didn’t know it. There was always something to find at 6008 Carlton Road. Like so many older, country home places things had a way of accumulating. Back in those days there were several unsanctioned dumps around the countryside, and no one thought a thing about using them—it was just part of living out in the county. The problem, at least for the Taylors, was we didn’t own a truck and, except for my brother who lived sometimes in Texas and sometimes across town, we didn’t know anyone who did. So, we had stuff laying around.
One of the things we had laying around was an old washing machine. It had long since quit working so it sat in the lawn behind the junk room for a long time. It was there that I found something quite amazing. In the lid, I think, was some short of “switchy” thing. It had wires connected to it and in the middle was a glass thing and in that glass thing was some silver liquid. Well, you can bet that that caught my eye. So, I decided that I needed to get it out of there. So, I cut it free from the old washing machine, put it in some sort of small container and found something—who knows what—and broke the glass.
The silvery stuff stuck together in a small puddle and if I took my finger and pushed it around it would always come back together. I also found out that some of it would stay on my finger. Now I have no idea how this part happened, but I am certain it did. Somewhere, somehow, I found a dime. Now trust me that was no small deal because that in those days that would buy a Coke and a Snickers, so it was big money. So, I found this dime and for some reason, I put it next in the silvery stuff and guess what happened?
Well, what happened is, for whatever reason, the silvery stuff stuck to that dime like white on rice. There were two things I didn’t know then that I know now. First, back in those days the silver coins like dimes and quarters were really made of silver. Second, that silvery stuff was something called mercury and apparently mercury likes silver and what happened next was almost magical. No matter how bad that dime looked, when the mercury got all over it, it looked better than brand new. It went from dull and old to looking shiny and new. Like I said, it was pretty amazing. Well, I never found out exactly how long the dime looked that way because it pretty quickly made its way to the Minute Market down the road for that Coke and Snickers.
Well, I didn’t know that I was playing with something that was pretty dangerous—mercury. We know now that mercury is nothing to mess with. We know that it can cause some serious health concerns. In fact, the people who build stuff aren’t allowed to use it anymore. Between mercury and the lead paint our house was painted with, it’s probably a miracle we all turned out ok. Of course, you can probably tell from these stories that I always was just a little different—adventurous but just a little hyper. I’m sure I had some sort of syndrome and didn’t know it.
This caused me to wonder how many things do we have laying around in our lives that just like mercury…and the lead paint for that matter…are dangerous and poisonous? I wonder how many toxic habits or relationships we hang on to and handle either because we don’t know or are just too stubborn to let go? It reminds me of the monkey trap where someone would build a cage and put a banana in it. A monkey would come along and reach into the cage for the banana only to discover that he could get his hand out with the banana. Too often, rather than let it go, they would hang on too long and end up either in a zoo or some native’s stew pot. Hmmm.
King Solomon, the guy who wrote the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, was one of the wisest men ever to live. He said, “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.” In other words—steer clear of fools and folly or you are bound to end up in deep weeds. The crazy part about King Solomon is that in the end he ended up not taking his own good advice. Let me encourage you, and me for that matter, to be careful about the things we allow to stick around in our lives. Like the dime, it may look shiny and new, but it just might be dangerous…very dangerous. Need some insight, a little wisdom? No, problem just ask, and God will be glad to help. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne