The Onward Journey

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”

A Finger in the Eggplant

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To my friends who have taken the time to read this blog weekly, I apologize for missing last week. Now that I think about it, the reason I didn’t blog had just as much, if not more, significance in my journey as has my ministry. My eldest daughter and her family were due in the evening of July 3, but that didn’t happen until the afternoon of July 4. I’ll explain later the significance of that uncertainty, not knowing and being in the dark.
Have you ever had the chance to see the beautiful luster of an eggplant as the light catches it just right? The purple skin covering gives off an absolute magnificence radiance! On one of the trips to the food bank, I had just that experience, and then I reached into the crate to grab that eggplant to make it ours when my finger found an unexpected entrance through a spot that was clearly rotten. That eggplant did not make it into the food collected for that day, but it did give me pause to think about the importance for us to be sensitive to the needs of our creation. That eggplant, had it been purchased or given to someone a week earlier, would have been a meal full of nutritional value. I’m afraid landfill was the destination for that one. I do hope that I and those I come in contact with will not lose sight of the importance to be caring for all of our creation and not be wasteful of any of it.
Tutoring the week before last was full of more interesting learning experiences. One young man, a soon-to-be 10th grader, asked me how American slaves would have celebrated Independence Day. Before I could get the words out of my mouth regarding whether or not Independence Day was even dreamed of in the dark period of slavery in this country, the impact of his question had me reeling in my seat. As I attempt to write this now, over a week later, the question continues to ring in my ear and the only thing I can do now is what I suggested to my young friend when he asked that haunting question… “We need to pray for forgiveness and learn from the mistakes of the past”. The slavery my young friend questioned me about has long since ended, legally anyway, but the evil that it represented continues to exist throughout our neighborhoods and our world. What if we work toward being inclusive and loving our neighbor at this time rather than writing an Emancipation Proclamation? I’m in and I welcome you to be also.
Another wonderful experience happened the other day when another high school student took me aside and asked me to help him put into words, what we had discussed as a group several days earlier regarding our behavior and what people see as being a reflection of what we believe and what values we hold dear. My young friend saw this is as an opportunity to explore what it means for him to be a Christian. Please keep in mind that the tutoring program is secular, and though The Refugee Network is sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, religion is not normally a subject discussed. Needless to say, when this young man asked me advice on how “He could explain the importance of Jesus in his life”, I got pretty excited! This young man talked to me about his understanding of Christ’s teachings to love our neighbor, care for those in need, and be welcoming and hospitable to all we come in contact with. I smiled and saw before me a young man whose life experiences in his country of origin and the refugee camps he lived in before arriving in San Diego did not demonstrate the “Good News” of the Gospel that he has been learning from his parents and the church his entire life. We both left St. Luke’s that day with a new appreciation for how we can live the “Good News” without the need to talk about it. Let our actions and the way we live do the talking.
So I imagine that since you started reading this, you have been dying to find out what happened regarding my family’s arrival here in San Diego last week. Well, the details are not so beautiful, but thankfully they all arrived safely almost 24 hours after they were scheduled. Unfortunately, my daughter, son-in-law and 14-year-old grandson spent all of that time in the Newark Airport while my wife and I used prayer and our support for one another to maintain a sense of calm and appreciation when they arrived. I believe that the lessons taught to me by the young people I tutored last week planted seeds that bore fruit I could enjoy with my family this past week, once they arrived. It was ironic that the delay got them here after the 4th of July parade was over. Yes, I wanted them to experience it, but the overwhelming joy of their safe arrival and the end of their traveling nightmare helped it all add up to a small speed bump on the journey of life. I am thankful that we were blessed with the opportunity to spend a week together.

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2 thoughts on “A Finger in the Eggplant

  1. Tom you have put it into my mind to look for the unexpected in the common. Good going..

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