I am terrified of rhubarb.
It happened ever-so-suddenly on a warm summer day in Colorado. Our neighbours, "evil twins" they were, convinced me that the not-yet-ripened rhubarb in their mother’s garden was in fact, celery, and here, have it with cream cheese. The ensuing excruciating moments I spent in a bathroom that afternoon, solidified The World’s Favourite Pie Plant as my culinary nemesis - and no strawberries, apples, ginger, or jam could convince me of its edibility. The very flavour or aroma still directly evokes the memory of the 10-3 position my hands took on their porcelain rim. That was 1976, and since that summer there has not been one variety of the masquerading celery that has made it passed my maw.
I don't touch the stuff ... apparently, I made such a big deal about it that my friends in Junior High bought me a school jersey which, on the back, simply said "Rhubarb." Or maybe it was my parents (how mean lol), I am not sure, but ... what a drama queen I must have been ... yes, I'm rolling my eyes at myself.
Flash forward thirty or so years. I sit in front of a computer screen, writing, anxious that someone might actually (*gasp*) read my blog, nervous that I will occasionally offend someone, and apprehensive that I will eventually be forced to defend my journey for the sake of self-preservation or relationship. My tussle with self-deprecation stems from the sheer terror that when someone gets a taste of my raw, wounded soul, they will spit it out and run away from any form of me, regardless of the effect of any sweetening ingredients.
Ironically, I resorted to comparing my psyche to a medicinal plant with purgative qualities, when toxic removal is just what I always need to do to live an authentic life, free of the fear of opinion, judgment, and false estimation. I’ve frequently believed what I’ve been told without research and sometimes, when it came to an opinion, owned someone else’s thoughts other than my own. Oh, I know who “you” are; I know everything about you. I have devoted myself to understand and appreciate you so that, by some impossible marvel, I will find out who I am beside. The angst of that distorted thinking has in the past kept me from coming into myself and has at times been my source of discomfort and tormented some relationships for years.
But I take many comforts in that God "gets" what it is to be human. In fact, a story we know about Peter says something about personal revelation...
Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.
Luke 22:61-62, The Message
Sooo ... yeah. Ouch.
What are YOU hiding? I am not saying that you have a big secret. Ok, that's rhetorical. I mean, like you, I like to do things on my "own terms." But in situations similar to Peter's third denial of Jesus (even though denial is not what you would do), some truths about ourselves could cause us, like him, to weep bitterly. And these same truths can choke the life out of the self you intrinsically want to be ... especially when you possess, live, and perform on your terms only. If this is something you deal with, I know you also take comfort in the fact that your creator would most likely prefer you be genuine than be confused, but as He is accountable to Himself only, it is WE who are accountable to HIM.
It was pretty naughty of Peter to so vehemently deny his best friend, our Messiah, but did He GIVE UP on God? Nope. Himself? Almost ... but ... NOPE. Later, he said, "You call out to God for help, and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God." (1Peter 1:17-18, The Message) Continue being an authentic person because then others can see a glimmer of Jesus in your eyes too, and hence a reflection of your soul.
I’ve been horrified away from rhubarb for years – and why? Because of someone else’s actions and behaviour, another person’s humourous malintent. And thus, I have formulated an opinion that I know well is not a correct assessment. Rhubarb has come to be the outward manifestation of an internal struggle with authenticity - mine and others - and the experiences that formulated any lack of tolerance I have had. SO, in the past years, I have welcomed a more authentic outlook ... AND (*sigh*) I have also decided that the next time anything rhubarb might be offered to me, I will sample and appraise it without prejudice. Because ...
...rhubarb does make an excellent dessert. But YOU already knew this, whereas I had to find out the hard way. The sweet taste of something "ICK" that has baked into deliciousness is what we want people to experience when they get a taste of the authentic us, isn't it? So let's offer OUR rhubarb, with all of its authenticity, to Jesus.
It’s the least we can do.