Dear Friends of Second Church,
With Grace away overnight on a Girl Scouts camping trip last weekend, Liz and I decided to take Emily out for dinner so she could try sushi.
Both of us remember this part of our childhoods fondly — when our parents buckled down to the task of introducing us to grown-up things for the first time. Foods from new places. Different kinds of music. Museums with no running or talking loudly. Every sport they played in New York City at every venue where sports were played.
This occasionally backfired.
For example, there was the family reunion dinner with all my cousins, when I raised my fork and said, “My compliments to the chef!”…which made several of them spit out milk. I was ten years old.
Earlier than that, there had been the day my mom came home from work and saw an open beer can on the kitchen counter.
Terrified that someone had gotten into our apartment, she came into the living room.
“What’s this?” she said, holding the can.
“I was thirsty,” I said, scarcely diverting my eyes from a rerun of the “Carol Burnett Show.” “I thought I’d try it.”
Clearly, there’s more to sampling grown-up things than just an attitude of “try it and see what happens.”
Even so, these things are easy to overthink.
After all, the real thrill is seeing someone make a genuine discovery for herself, and not just watch approvingly as she is dutifully initiated into our own prejudices.
So on Saturday night, off we went to try sushi with Emily.
Wasabi aside, it was a hit. As were the pork dumplings Liz was having. As was the pad thai I was having. As were the chop sticks, masterfully bound together by a rubber band at one end for the beginning user.
But the biggest hit was having ginger ale with a straw in a tall glass (made of actual glass).
“BEST. DINNER. EVER.” Emily pronounced, reaching into her glass to slurp the last ginger ale off of the ice cubes. “Can we come back again tomorrow?”
We may have created a monster.
Is there a dosage at which ginger becomes toxic? We don’t know.
But we’ll risk it.
Learning to control our enthusiasms is important, but not more so than having them, in the first place.
Finding what we love is so important. It teaches us not only what it is to encounter the world, but also ourselves in surprising ways. Loving something teaches us that we are, it turns out, a certain kind of person — a someone who loves this more than that, these more than those.
This can be nothing sort of astonishing. Learning who it is God made us to be is one of the most wonderful but challenging tasks of our lives.
Moreover, it reminds us that faith may not be living “up” to something so much as it is a process of living into something ever more deeply, authentically, and joyfully — not only the teachings of Jesus, but our own skin, and the dazzling promise that God intends that the two shall meet and journey together.
What is God inviting you to try? To discover next? To become?
May the blessing it proves to be fill you with joy and new energy in the days and weeks to come.
See you in church,