For almost two years, I talked to the boys about the Great Salt Plains in Oklahoma ó how we would leave the trees and hills of Tulsa and trade them for the red dirt and flat, fertile plains to the west.

I described to them how you can watch a thunderstorm careen across the sky for miles without buildings and lights spoiling the view and how, when we got to the salt plains, we would see the white stretch out all the way to the horizon.

Still, when the dirt road ended and we passed through the gate, they werenít sure what to make if all that salt. It was overwhelming.

We brought out our borrowed shovel and began to dig shallow holes. We poured water down the sides and caught glimpses of sparkling crystals. The boys filled one plastic cup with treasures and started on another while I looked at their smudged faces and their shoes caked with mud and salt. Our tires were white. The knees of my sonís black jeans were white.

Everything was white because there was an abundance of salt. Not a salt shaker full, acres and acres full.

The Christian scriptures tell us that people of faith are to be light and salt in this world, and in all these years that Iíve been reading that verse, Iíve pictured salt on my dinner table. Iíve thought about saltís importance in preserving and seasoning, but Iíve visualized it as small and scarce. I forgot that it fills oceans and seas and mines ó even a portion of the plains in my home state.

I forgot that there is plenty of salt for purity, for sharing the flavor of compassion and grace. If we want, the salt that was once used to bind people in an unbreakable covenant of friendship could overflow on our tables and in our lives.

And the light that shines in darkness? The symbol of Godís love and hope? Itís plentiful, too, year after year after year.

That changes things for me. It shifts my thinking and my fears.

Unlimited love. Hope. Purity. Healing. Grace.

Suddenly, like the boys, Iím overwhelmed.

ó Marketta Gregory is a former religion reporter who canít stop writing about what is sacred and holy. She is a native of Oklahoma but makes her home in Rochester, New York, with her husband, two crazy boys and one very vocal Pomeranian. Find more of her writing at SimplyFaithful.com or check out her book, ďSimply Faithful: Finding the Sacred in Everyday Life.Ē