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Friday, April 15, 2016

Connecting with God's Heart-Kitchen Confessions and Pork Knuckle Moments

Connecting with God's heart,  Connecting with a friend's heart. Sometimes I shuck shells like a squirrel in my backyard as I get to the meat-the heart of a matter.Sometimes I chew the fat with a friend in her kitchen and together we get to matters of the heart. That's how it went, in this dear friend's kitchen across the Atlantic in the charming town of Starnberg and far from my backyard where the squirrels shuck nuts whether I'm there or not. My precious friend, Karen Grable, wrote about a conversation we had in her Starnberg kitchen. I asked if I could share it with y'all, and she graciously said, "That would be just isn't a dissertation, it isn't filled with a bunch of verses, it's just straight talk with one person's angle." Well, her angle is soul food. Enjoy! 

Squirrel Shucking Nuts

"Lives change around the meal table.  I enjoyed a "sweet" time catching up with a dear friend recently, in my kitchen, permeated by comforting smells of savory foods blended with laughter and love.  We both also love Jesus and, over time and pain, have gradually come to view this life more clearly - with a long view - still in a mirror dimly, but wiped down a bit through His cleansing Word.  We remarked over the creativity of our Creator, specifically as it pertained to food and the infinite number of colors, textures, shapes, sizes, flavors, varieties, and so on the discussion went. We concurred that our heavenly Father intended our senses to be gifts, and that food is meant for pleasure as much as it is for our benefit and welfare. I thoroughly believe this!

As my friend and I further pondered the big picture, we felt gratitude over the promised new, heavenly bodies, immortal and ageless which we will inherit . We exhorted each other with the truth that we are to be good stewards of our temporary body, and are responsible to care for it with the sound minds and self-control that His spirit enables. We live in a great age for medicine, and longitudinal study results have provided no shortage of good information with which we can make smart eating choices; there are greater numbers of health conscious individuals looking for clean quality food and rigorous exercise regimens.  It seems to me, however, that there is a fine line to (power) walk between living a healthy life style and being consumed over the "health" of our bodies. If our eyes see the short view, our (temporary) body morphs into our idol - commandeering larger and larger portions of our thought lives, our time, our resources - which impact everyone close to us. What a way to spoil a good dinner!

Personally, I believe that my Abba Father, my Daddy, delights in my ice-cream cone afternoons, or the decadent (sometimes artery- clogging) celebratory meals I've cherished with beloved friends and family! I'll illustrate with a poignant example taken from this very day.  My beloved Uncle Rich is dying.  This man whom everybody loves, who exudes the joy of Christ like no other, is about to shed his temporary body for his permanent body - leaving this temporary home for his permanent paradise with Jesus.  Uncle Rich, Bo Bo, has been the consummate example of balance in life, a man with the LONG view, the eternal picture. If ever there was a man who knew how to work hard and play hard, it is he.  He has been intentional about his God, intentional about his family, intentional about the import of others' lives....yet Bo Bo knows how to laugh hard and relish the bountiful delights that our Father giggles over every day.

Not eight months ago, we enjoyed a family moment with Uncle Rich at a restaurant in Germany. We spoke of God's signature on the Bavarian Alps as we ate drippy, fatty German pork knuckle (kill ya dead), and cold frothy beer. My husband and I remembered thinking, "We want to be just like him when we grow up!"  He has always lived a healthy pattern of life, physically, mentally, and spiritually, yet he is unashamedly going to savor those occasional treats that His Father created FOR his pleasure. Uncle loved that pork-knuckle moment, he lived that pork-knuckle moment.  This is a man with the long view, the eternal picture.  Just a few weeks ago when he was released from the hospital after a cancer-related infection, he posted his final comments on his Caring Bridge web-diary:

'Little did I realize 16 years after the sale of my company, that the spiritual direction program I felt moved by the hand of God to pursue would also prepare me for this precise moment in my life?  I feel very close to my God right now and have no doubt or concern about what happens next.  I’m pretty sure I would not be in the same frame of mind I have about my own dying process had my God not nudged me into the ministries I’ve experienced, all of which heightened my relationship with my God.  Leaving the hospital, which had become the landscape of my new life going forward and being brought back to a landscape that now has a limited shelf life was a bit wrenching.  In a way I felt as if I was going back in time rather than forward along on my journey.'

I can hardly wait to recline (perhaps after a stroll through some lush green pasture by a sparkling river of life) through eternity with Uncle Rich - around the Savior's table, laughing, feasting, and licking ice cream cones....  NEVER would I have given up that Pork Knuckle Moment with Bo Bo.  I'll see you in a little while, Uncle."

Karen F. Grable 


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