August 1, 2017

Write with salt, not sugar


Chemically speaking, various salts can be formed by combining a base with an acid. For example, common table salt (NaCl) consists of sodium chloride with neither element something you’d ever want to eat by itself!

There’s nothing sweet or saccharine about salt.

There’s nothing flowery in its inorganic matter.

Although people and animals must have some salt to survive, too much of this essential mineral tastes like ocean water or brine, which can make us gag!

Cliché though it is, a little salt goes a long way.

In light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13, however, that cliché brings hope. Figuratively speaking, the Lord said we’re to be the “salt of the earth,” a concise way of defining how we're to be, speak, act, and write effectively.

We might not feel as though we’re being effective or making any difference, but as we interact with the world through Christ-centered words, actions, and prayers, even a little saltiness goes a long way.

To get some ideas of how to sprinkle salt into our relationships and writings, let’s consider some of the power salt has:

Salt kills weeds.
The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur with nothing sprouting and no vegetation on it, Deuteronomy 29:23.

Purifies water

Then he (Elisha) went to the spring, threw salt into it, and said, This is what the Lord says: “I’ve healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land barren,” 2 Kings 2:21.

Adds flavor and seasoning
Is tasteless food eaten without salt? Job 6:6.

Salt also has the power to:

Keep food from spoiling.

Draw out infection.

Melt ice.


Those factual aspects and properties of salt gives us a few of its literal meanings, but sometimes we understand more by speaking or writing figuratively. That’s what Jesus did by calling us the “salt of the earth,” and what I aimed for in the following poem from my book, Outside Eden, published by Kelsay Books:

Shaking Salt

We want
We taste
We crave this old
enhancing

Thirsty
Body cells
Electrical charges

never brackish

Our pores exude
Tears
Oceans
Preservatives
Washers of wounds

Blood pressure
Bread leavening
descending
rising

Too much
Too little
ruins a thing

better tasting
Humor taken
with a grain

Plain speech
peppering

Salt of earth salt
of earth
You are the


Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017