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Passing It On

Susan and I spent a quiet  New Year’s Eve with my brother and my mother who has been quite sick for several months.  In the last week we have found out that she has severe blockage of her carotid, aortic and femoral arteries.  This week she will have a heart catheterization so she could then begin to have these issues addressed beginning with the carotid surgery.  If you remember, please keep her in your prayers.

    For the past few weeks she has had a craving for Bologna Spread.  I know it sounds quite unappetizing but it is also one my favorite things that my mother use to make us when we were kids.  A big chunk of Bologna and a jar of sweet Gherkin’s pickles put through an old, iron cast meat grinder, then mixed with an ample amount of mayonnaise. Served on white Wonder Bread!   Oh, man, it is such a treat. Because my mother was not feeling well and barely could sit up she talked me through the process. It really was not very difficult and I wondered why we don’t make this more often.  Its so easy and doesn’t take but a few minutes. Its so good! Why isn’t this a weekly staple in our diet? Oh yeah..it is totally unhealthy! It can only be eaten sparingly!

   It was nice to have this time with my mother.  It was nice to be able to make her something she wanted especially since she has been hardly eating at all and has lost so much weight.  It was nice to use the same old meat grinder that my grandmother also used to make Bologna Spread when my mother was growing up. Something was passed on to me that night…something simple, something nostalgic, something personal, something filled with nice feelings and childhood memories.  

   My mother said the Bologna Spread came out perfectly.  And I know she wasn’t just saying that to make me feel good.  When I made her Swedish Meatballs for the family Christmas Eve gathering she told me they weren’t that good.  Besides, I knew that the Swedish Meatballs did not taste like hers but the Bologna Spread… it was delicious!  The biggest difference between the Swedish Meatballs and the Bologna Spread? My mother was with me, instructing me step by step how to make the Bologna Spread.  When I made the Swedish Meatballs I was reading off of an old recipe that used phrases like “a pinch” “not too much”, “about” and “double the recipe”. There is a big difference between trying to decipher a recipe and having someone give you the exact directions.  So now, I will need to have my mother take me through making the Swedish Meatballs (she says she really wants to!). But, I think I can make the Bologna Spread on my own or at least I have the video since Susan recorded it!

     Nothing takes the place of having someone walk with you through the process.  Someone to pass it on. This is the same principle we talk about in being mentored in our Spiritual development.  We all need people who can walk with us, point us in the right direction, give us feedback, tell us where we are and where we need to go.  That is why we need to be a part of a small group, to participate in classes and courses, to have Spiritual Directors who have had experiences and  can will help us grow and develop. We need teachers, we need the older generation, we need to learn from our rich history in the church. A history that goes back,  not just 25 years or 100 years but back to the early church too. We need to be learners because there is always more to learn. Whether we are novices on the journey of faith or have been on this road for a long time, there is always more to learn and people we can learn from.  And, as we learn, we can share what we know with others so they too can develop their relationship with Jesus and pass it on. We see this exemplified by Paul, who teaches Timothy, who in turn teaches others in his church. (1 Timothy 1:1-3).

     It doesn’t say it but I imagine Paul may have also taught Timothy how to make Bologna Spread…but I’m sure it wasn’t as good as my mother’s or mine.