Could you live with a lifetime of just vanilla?

People are like ice cream. There a million different flavors and flavor combinations.

Photo credit via Lilliana Fuchs

Photo credit via Lilliana Fuchs

Take vanilla, it’s perfectly nice and goes with a lot of other flavors. You could mix it with chocolate or mint or strawberry and it would be pretty good. It is not terribly offensive in any combination. It is arguably, the best and most basic ice cream around. I look at people who have never experienced trauma, who always made the safe choice, who never pushed the boundary too far, who created a very normal, well-adjusted family as kind of vanilla. Vanilla is good. Sometimes I crave vanilla. But, then I wonder, “Could I ever really, really love vanilla?”

What do you think of a person who, out of 52 flavors in the display case, picks vanilla? They’re stable, good, responsible, safe, but dare I say …. Boring?

I wonder sometimes about the perfect life partner. What would he be like? Then I think about my favorite people. My favorite people are not vanilla. They have had a lifetime of challenges. They lived through really hard stuff. They have scars that make them interesting and a knowing in their eyes that can only come from experience. They’ve seen the worst in life and people. Yet, they still have the courage to love, the courage to be vulnerable, the courage to forgive.

So, maybe the perfect mate is more like rocky road – interesting, multi-layered, and you just might break your tooth on an almond. It is maybe a bit risky. Rocky road doesn’t always mix well with others. Like the name suggests, it has its issues and just might make life a little difficult at times.

Here is the thing: unless we’ve experienced deep hurt, we cannot truly understand grace and forgiveness. When we know how bad things can really be, we can genuinely appreciate joy in life. If life has always been smooth, how in the world do you understand how profoundly lucky you are?

Our character is revealed in times of trial. If you commit your life to someone who has never known gut-wrenching pain, how can you know they’ll persevere during hard times? I can walk confidently because I know I have been to the bottom of the mire pit and through the Grace of God was pulled out. I wonder if our vanilla friends could ever truly understand the vastness of that confidence.

At the end of the day, I just can’t imagine a lifetime of vanilla. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the rocky road. After all, it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

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