Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Baking Soda – Reynolds

If we ran out of toothpaste, when I was a boy, my father would use baking soda. He claimed it was as good as toothpaste—although my mother continued to buy toothpaste. I see that the latest tube of our favourite family toothpaste boasts that it contains baking soda.  Sometimes we do find that the old ways were the best. But not always.

            On the one hand, the “olden days” were not always so happy. If things as they used to be were so good, surely we'd just go back to the way things used to be. Consider marriage as an example. Think of the many bad marriages which resulted in pre-marital pregnancy, “shot-gun marriages” we called them. How many bad and mutually destructive marriages were perpetuated by the prohibition of divorce. I had a cousin, years ago, who lived with his wife for twenty-five years without speaking to her excepting through the children, several of which somehow came along while he was supposedly sleeping on a cot in the kitchen.

            On the other hand, we should not assume that everything new is good. I was speaking with a young woman who said, "My parents are so Victorian!" She laughed.  She laughed because they held “traditional values” which she considered outdated. They had been quietly but happily married for over thirty years. On the other hand, she was going through her second divorce and had had an abortion before her first marriage.  She was not a happy person.  
            Change, in itself, is not necessarily a good thing. Some change is for the better, some is regrettable. Progress is not necessarily a good thing. If we are going in the wrong direction, all the progress we make is only getting us deeper into the mud. Doesn't it make sense, in changing something, to try to ensure that it is for the better? 

            Way back in the nineteenth century, Matthew Arnold wrote that we are “wandering between two worlds, one dead, the other struggling to be born.” Seems like it is still true. Some day, maybe we'll have it all worked out. In the meantime, each one of us, before God, must try to decide, in a confused and overly confident age, what is good and what is bad.  God help us!

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

I used baking soda for teeth-cleaning many a time in my childhood and youth -- and have occasionally done so over my adult years (and also use a brand that includes it).
Your incisive thoughts and succinct expressions re. points of change vis-a-vis progress so-called etc., though, are well taken. They strike the chord with me!

Popular Posts