Several weeks ago a guy at work gave me a Zip-Lock baggie of little Tepin peppers he’d gotten from Mexico. I’ve been keeping the peppers, known as “flea chilis” by the Aztecs, in my lunchbox, and occasionally I crush and sprinkle one into the soups Lauren packs for me. Quickly I learned that these little peppers, small and innocent as they may appear at first glance, pack a huge punch and are extremely spicy. The flea chilis warning I would give you is that one small pepper is quite enough seasoning for a whole thermos full of chili, at least in my opinion anyway.
Well my thermos broke open by accident recently and made a mess of the inside of my lunchbox, so I emptied it, including my baggie of Tepin peppers, and rinsed out the mess before setting everything on the kitchen counter to dry.
Last night my sons noticed the bag of peppers still sitting there where I’d left it and, curious whether these were candies from my lunchbox, asked me about them. I assured them in no uncertain terms: “These peppers are not candy; they are extremely spicy!” They are supposedly even the hottest peppers on the planet, by some accounts.
Then this morning, as I came upstairs from my office to refill my coffee mug after a staff meeting conference call, I came upon my third-born son Solomon hurriedly trying to throw my baggie of Tepin peppers back on the counter-top before frantically wiping his tongue with his hands and shirt.
Me: “Did you eat one of those?”
Wide-eyed Solomon nodded before bursting into tears.
Me: “How many did you eat?”
Crying, Solomon held up just one little finger.
Solomon: “It was a mistake!”
The Unheeded Flea Chilis Warning
Yes son, I believe you. That was a mistake. I tried to caution you from my own personal experience, but you either weren’t listening very carefully, didn’t believe what I told you, or else quickly forgot my words of warning. In any event, my warning apparently and unfortunately did not benefit you or save you from trouble.
Fortunately for Solomon, a little cup of yogurt soothed the burning sensation and calmed him down in no time flat. These little peppers carry a lot of heat, but it’s more of a flash in the pan sort of heat. Now the bag of them is safely back in my possession once again and we’ll try to avoid a repeat of this experience.
My point in telling you this little anec-don’t is that sometimes we choose to learn the hard way, don’t we? For a number of reasons, it all too often takes feeling a bit of personal pain and discomfort before we incline our hearts and minds to pursuing wisdom, and sometimes even painful experiences can’t overcome our stubborn commitment to doing what we very well please regardless of the consequences, especially if we don’t reflect on our mistakes and learn from them.
Yes, I’m reminded of that truth about life this morning with the concrete example my son provided for me, but it’s not just true when you’re looking forward, like my son Solomon, to your 6th birthday next month. Oddly enough, it’s all too often also true when you’ve just celebrated your 29th birthday at the beginning of this month, like I did.
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Christian, husband to a darling wife, and father to seven children - I enjoy pipe-smoking, playing strategy games on my computer, listening to audio books, and writing. When I'm not asking you questions out loud, I'm endlessly asking myself silent questions in my head. I believe in God's grace, hard work, love, patience, contemplation, and courage.