Why Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches are the Jam

Raise your hand if you think peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are simply awesome. I mean, what child doesn’t love this amazing mixture of dry, yet sticky, saltiness layered with a gooey and sweet tasting “honey” only to be wrapped by two beautifully padded pieces of foamy bread?! Ugh. Just talking about it makes me drool! The real question is toasted or not?

Sometimes the simple things in life speak truth. And if we listen we might learn something life-changing.

How is it that these two distinct ingredients, peanut butter and jelly, have come together to create one of the most explosively delicious duos in the world? Oh, and you don’t need a culinary degree to put together this delicious treat? Wait, a child can prepare this so-called PB&J without adult supervision?! Holy shnikeys, Batman! Let’s get our butts to the Batcave and make us a PB&J immediately!! Since the early 1900s, homes across the USA have been enjoying this cheap, delicious sandwich. The popularity of this sandwich actually took off during the Great Depression. The cost of peanut butter had decreased greatly, sugar began to be added to the making of peanut butter (making it appealing to children), and the ingredients of a PB&J were kinda healthy. Protein, wheat, fruit, and…. ah, who cared! It was delicious and easy to make!

How often can we put together two different components to make something this good? It is with a PB&J in my lap that I begin to realize what this tasty sandwich teaches me. It teaches me that something as dry as PB can make magic when it comes together with something as moist as jelly (does the word moist bother you? I hope so). It teaches me that perhaps, if we had a common understanding, we could also put two completely different humans in the same space and somehow make something beautiful. Even more intriguing to see, what if we placed two humans that are enemies to each other in the same space? Can there be hope of finding a common ground? Can something beautiful happen between two enemies?

Maybe if we learned to live in understanding we would realize that there is freedom from whatever polarizes us from others. It’s not difficult to scroll through your Facebook news feed or watch the news for 5 minutes without finding evidence of such a divided and polarized world. Hold on. Let me take a bite of this beautiful sandwich in my lap…ok.

Allow me to challenge your heart today.

What is that thing that you most fear? Who is that person you most loathe? Now, attempt to begin to understand that thing, that person. Do you see a human with a beating heart? Not yet? Look deeper. Do you see a human made in God’s image? Hang in there. Keep looking. Do you see a neighbor? Well, look longer and you might see a friend. And at some point in your journey perhaps call this friend “family.” Oh, the beauty of seeing others with understanding.

The first step to understanding is the attempt. If you look at others with the intention of understanding who they are, why they are, and where they are in their life journey we might begin to see someone as magical and intriguing as we are. And, let’s imagine for awhile, what if our hearts connected with this alien of a person and we made magic? What if we connected hearts and made something as awesome as the peanut butter sandwich? Hey, we might be on our way to changing history.

So, I will try it with you. I will see others with intention. I will attempt to understand them. I will find a friend in everyone.