Thursday, December 31, 2009

I have a huge pot of chili simmering on the stove, and my cup of Earl Grey tea is steeping next to me. My kids are entertaining the neighbourhood children outside... and my husband is at the church preparing this Sunday's sermon.
Am I a product of my upbringing? My dad was a Southwesterner (see: chili), my mom's family is English (see: Earl Grey tea), I grew up in a ministry family (see: kids' hospitality), and we are a 3rd generation preaching family (see: hubby's sermonating).
Much of what I do and why I do it I can accurately attribute to my noble, and sensible upbringing. The values we possess, the goals we try to attain... even the recipes we share.
The family I grew up in - the Williams' - valued Family! Loyalty. Togetherness. Sharing. Hospitality. Radical Faith. (By radical, I mean they actually DID what they professed to believe in!) They also valued Thriftiness, Common Sense, Honesty, Fairness and Self-Education.
And I would dare say I have continued in trying to live that way.
And now, as an adult with half-grown kids of my own... I am facing the new year, new decade with an opportunity to re-examine our direction. Where are we? Why are we here? Where do we want to be? How will we get there?
I could continue doing what I've always done, the way I've always done it... and hope for the best. But after a bit of thought, I realize that our lives need a little fine-tuning. Redirection.
It was a surprise to me to learn that an airplane is off course nearly 80 percent of the time. Much time in the air is spent making minute, but very important direction changes.
So it will be with the King Family.
It's not that I am preparing to throw off everything I've ever learned and embark on an entirely new journey... for we have planned to be where we are doing what we are doing for a long time. Rather, I'd like to fine-tune our journey. Hone in on what is best - most glorifying to God.
(Excuse me while I put the cornbread in the oven.)
We are not in a rut defined by generations past - though we are influenced by them! We are never free from our history - though I choose learn from it! Our ancestors were no fools. They've suffered more, worked harder, accomplished more in their years than I could ever hope to in the years I have left!
And it's their sheer determinism that inspires me. Their values that motivate me. Their faithfulness that drives me.
But I will take the path that God has laid out for me. Carry the torch he's given me. And while I receive a weathered torch carried with worn hands, my light will be to a world that has grown dark because it has forgotten the values of the Greatest Generation... a Generation that loved their God.
But, I'll do it my way. In a home provided by God... with children that God has blessed me with... and age-old family recipes that have my own distinct flavour added to it.
My chili is not made with pinto beans as dad would have liked - but made with the thriftiness that mom would appreciate. The cornbread is a little sweeter. The Earl Grey tea a little darker. The kids have come inside to warm up and play video games (unheard of in my day), and hubby seeks solace when he studies...
God's plan. Our flavour in the recipe.
Hope He likes it!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I expected to talk mere kidneys and ultra-sounds with my South African doctor today. We talked that... and we talked Newtonian Physics versus Quantum Physics and... Jesus.

Our conversation moved quickly... as they always do... from subject to subject. Issue to issue. And, as we discussed pain medication, I expressed my aversion to them - citing a family history of addiction to alcohol and drugs.

The good doctor quizzed me, "In my experience there is always an underlying factor to addiction. Some kind of depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or anxiety. Why are they addicted? Do you know?"

I told him I didn't know. He looked at me... and cocked his head to the side waiting for a better answer. I told him I had just met them this summer, and didn't know their history... but I guessed.

"I suppose there's something to it... perhaps sexual abuse." I lowered my voice. "It's what happened to me. It's why I was removed by the province... when I was six."

A tear surfaced and betrayed me.

I clenched my jaw and willed the threatening tears back to their reservoir. Why was I weeping? I think about this all the time. I'm dealing with it. I had been so matter-of-fact in my approach... my thinking. Why the emotion NOW?

"What did Jesus teach about Quantum Physics?" the doctor asked.

I wiped my tear... and looked at him confused. I struggled to find an answer. I have answers for everything.

"He taught that we live in the physical world, but that the real world is spiritual." Good enough... I didn't know what he was getting at.

The good doctor began to speak...

"The Old Testament was a Newtonian Physics system. What goes up must come down. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' It was good, but not good enough. Not complete. Not until Jesus came."

I had never heard the Old Testament compared to Newtonian Physics before. I wondered what he was getting at.

His voice was kind-hearted, but resolute. "When Jesus came, he did away with all of that." He swept his arms across the air. "Jesus brought Quantum Physics to our lives."

He leaned forward, "You know Quantum Physics, Jennifer?" I nodded.

He answered his own question,"Breaching the Time/Space continuum. Time travel... things that we cannot do now... but will do soon. Things that we struggle to see even with our best imagination. THIS is what Jesus has brought to us. Not 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth', something better, bigger, unimaginable. Complete forgiveness."

He went on to tell me about his President Nelson Mandela... his writings on forgiveness. He shared his passion for African American Gospel music... their songs of slavery and their understanding of true freedom. He explained that my life had been on a wave - a tsunami - but it was 30 years ago... and that it's time to get off that wave and choose a new one... one that would take me where I want to go.

He told me to take off my shackles now. And dance.

The tears began to spill freely, and I was at a loss for words.

There was quiet in the room for just a moment. My mind was swimming.

The doctor returned to his duty and wrote up a prescription and explained it to me. We set up appointments for referrals as I pulled a tissue from a tiny box.

My tears continued uninterrupted for the next hour as I headed home. Not sobbing, just a quiet cascade of sorrow mixed with gratitude.

The good South African Doctor has begun a healing process of my heart and soul. His prescription? Jesus. The treatment? Forgiveness. The prognosis? Good.