We spent a week in August at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We’ve been going there off and on as an extended family for over 30 years now. One of my favorite features of the annual beach week is the nightly family walk to the boardwalk which inevitably includes a stop at the Ice Cream Store. Located at #6 Rehoboth Avenue, next to Candy Kitchen, this delectable stop features 12 flavors of snow cones, funnel cake, waffles, and 100 flavors of ice cream.
I can’t remember them all, but along with the usual delicious suspects, a few more unusual choices stick in my memory: red velvet cake, chocolate éclair, key lime, cake batter, and bacon. Actually they have 101 flavors. There is an additional flavor listed down at the bottom of the marquis. It is called “I can’t decide.” In all the 7 nights we were there, I was never dumb enough to order that. That would be, I assume, when it’s up to the server to pick for you. If I were the server, I’d look down at the tubs in the freezer and pick whatever is not selling well that night. I’d slop a scoop of bacon feta chocolate swirl in first to lay the foundation and on top of that I’d plop a scoop of sugar free cantaloupe sorbet with sunflower seeds. I’m making these flavors up now of course, but you get the idea.
I refuse to order “I can’t decide.” I can’t run the risk of getting ice cream with marshmallows in it. The gooey texture of the marshmallows is only exacerbated by its juxtaposition on the palate with the coldness of the ice cream. Like a bad relationship, the combination brings out the worst in each ingredient. Nor can I run the risk of being handed a cone of green, mouthwash flavored ice cream speckled with flecks of what is purportedly chocolate, though you would never know it since it’s frozen and you can’t taste it. With all the delicious options on the ice cream marquis, why would anyone fail to make a choice and let someone else make it for them?
This is a clear case of the hard, cold fact that “Not to decide is to decide.”
So the question is “What is it that you need to decide for yourself rather than leave it up to someone else?”
I’ve done a lot of studying of proverbs, both in the Bible and in other cultures, and so I tend to think of my choices in proverbial form. I think I have a daily decision to make. I need to place my order for that third flavor every day. If I just stand at the counter staring at the marquis, negative thoughts and unrealistic expectations will mire me in perpetual pessimism or perennial pouting. And that’s a whole lot worse than my least favorite flavor of ice cream. mong three flavors. One is “Expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed” a proverb from Benjamin Franklin; the second is “Expect only the best to happen in your life and always be disappointed;” The third option is a much more nutritious and delicious flavor, “Expect, in the worst and the best, the Presence of a comforting, correcting and guiding God.”
I need to place my order for that third flavor every day. If I just stand at the counter staring at the marquis, negative thoughts and unrealistic expectations will mire me in perpetual pessimism or perennial pouting. And that’s a whole lot worse than my least favorite flavor of ice cream.