Liverwurst and open minds

Somehow, I like liverwurst.

I’m not sure how it happened.  I only know that I was very young and that somehow Mom got me to try it.  She may have avoided using its name, part of which was well known to me as the word for that weird imposter of steak that she and Dad sometimes enjoyed.  Not knowing that wurst was German for sausage; I can’t imagine it would’ve gone well had she asked me to eat what I would’ve heard as “liver at its worst.”

Surprisingly, liverwurst took hold with me and became an occasionally desired treat (like for lunch today).  I like the taste, the texture, the contrasts with soft bread and pungent mustard, and the memories of having it with Mom back when she was home with us full-time.  Kinda like Dad’s onion-and-mayo sandwiches after school, Aunt Kate’s spaghetti sauce, Aunt Mary’s rolls, and Zweigle’s hot dogs at Uncle Ed and Uncle Bill’s house after midnight mass every Christmas Eve.

Apparently, liverwurst is even good for us.  Sure, it’s high in fat and cholesterol, but it’s also high in Vitamins A and B, protein, and iron.  Learning that this afternoon made me appreciate a little more that Mom got me to like this stuff so long ago.

Teaching kids to be healthy is one of the hardest tasks of parenting.  No parent (or witness) needs to be reminded of how difficult it can be to introduce new foods or resist overindulging in treats.  One of Billy’s first complete sentences was, “Mommy, I no like broccoli;” the other day, I saw teeth marks on a fresh stick of butter at a house with young kids.  Parents might have better knowledge about what’s healthful or broader wisdom about the importance and joy of variety, but kids sometimes just close their minds adamantly.  Their frequent wide-eyed wonder and eagerness for discovery become implacable resistance to and even fear of the unknown when faced with unfamiliar foods.

A closed mind is powerful resistance, even to blessings and truth.  But what’s really good for us is always more important than what’s comfortable or familiar.

When Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and the Israelites were exiled, many prophets told them what seemed comfortable:  soon, God will deliver you.  Soon, you’ll go home.  God had a different message, though*:  don’t listen to comforting lies.  Settle down, cooperate, live well, and wait for the blessings that will come.

It wasn’t what they wanted to hear, but it was what the all-knowing, all-powerful, loving Lord promised would be best.

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.  Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.  Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord.”

“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'” – Jeremiah 29:4-14 (New International Version)

We’re all set in our ways on some things, all have our blind spots, but we should never be afraid to venture out of our complacency and assumptions and examine something anew.

After all, Billy eventually decided broccoli was his favorite vegetable.*

* The leaves are, anyway; we’re still working on the stalks.

Cameras are fun…

Tracy left me home with the kids again


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