While sitting at my desk hammering out all the complications of a Regency Romance, I break off a square of Ghirardelli’s 72 % Cacao Chocolate. I place it on my tongue. It is bitter with only an edge of sweetness. While it dissolves on my tongue, I savor that little bit of chocolate sweetness, so hard won from the bitter cacao bean.
Am I masochistic? No. Just accustomed to the fact that life teaches us to know sweetness from its contrast to the bitter. True victories are hard won. True success emerges from failure. True love grows in the rocky soil of mortality. Peace is the golden reprieve from adversity.
My readers will not be surprised to learn of my chocolate preference. My happiness has been hard won. My books all have an edge, for my characters have grown from an imagination that has fought through darkness to come into the light. For all this, my works are ultimately hopeful. The sweetness wins the battle in the end, because there is something in all of us that craves it, that will fight for it. When given a choice, only the most depraved will favor darkness and bitterness at the expense of honey and light.
Grace is a gift from God. It is granted to us freely, but like the sweetness in dark chocolate, it takes a special taste to detect it. Grace comes in the midst of trial. Trials take us to extremes, and it is in extremes that we are most acutely grateful for relief.
Every trial, if ultimately faced with courage and fortitude, offers knowledge and intimacy with our Savior. In life, as well as in chocolate, there is sweetness to be had amid the bitterness. But as long as we are mortal, the two tastes will exist co-mingled.
Tolstoy said that the object of life is to learn to submit to God. From reading his masterful novels, I would bet you anything that Tolstoy loved dark chocolate, too.
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