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This is Blessed, Indeed

I wrote this over three years ago, as we waited on Little L to make her grand entrance into this world. Since my Dad's birthday would have been Sunday, I just wanted to repost it again. I miss you, Daddy!

Since I've had some serious free time on my hands, I've been chatting it up with my folks these past few days.  One topic of conversation has been my dad's childhood living in China during and immediately after the Chinese Civil War (1949-1952) and the rationing of food resources and political oppression that followed this conflict.  I learned much about Dad, and about me, during these fascinating conversations.

Me and Dad - I'm about 4 months preggos here.
For one, my Dad had to make tough choices early in life, choices that would forever determine his professions and education and fate.  He had to choose between education and freedom, between a better life in Canada and a comfortable life in Hong Kong.  He had to choose between leaving members of his family "behind" in the motherland or staying to care for them and risking his entire future.  He had to make these decisions all before the tender age of 22.  I cannot imagine.

Also, I had no idea my Dad has worn so many different hats in his life.  He was a farmer (who even grew his own tobacco that his teachers would bum off him when they needed a fix), a factory manager/instructor of significant position, a refugee, a money collector for the Chinese Triad, an almost-actor for a HK studio, a cook/busser/server, a business owner, a custodian, a bookkeeper for the Chinese government, an amateur carpenter, a hunter, a church volunteer and who knows what else? I have a feeling there are more layers to this onion that he hasn't uncovered yet.

To this day, apparently Dad hates eating yams and sweet potatoes, mostly because it was one of those things that he received in greater abundance during the post-Civil War-era.  By contrast, he *loves* Chinese-style salted fish and preserved shrimp paste, items that were rationed and hard to attain at the time.  Did I mention - he also knows how to salt his own fish (but doesn't do that anymore).

We talked about hunger, and need, and how my child(ren) will never understand what it means to go hungry and to be in need and to have to make these hard choices in their lives.  We discussed the fact that Hubbs' and my stories as told to our little one(s) will never be quite as interesting and diverse and drama-ridden as the tales my Dad has to tell.  We discussed how aware we are that even today, there are people we know who cannot afford to buy their children gifts or purchase gas for their vehicles, and who have to make mental calculations before they line up at the grocery store check-out to ensure that they haven't surpassed weekly or monthly budgets. 

Meanwhile, I contemplate what time I should go for my spa pedicure.  I look around the room to see my mom using the Macbook, Hubbs on his MacBook Pro, Dad on the iPad 2 and me on my iPhone.  I worry about how Hubbs will manage all of his work commitments and the opportunities that others are seeking him for.  I think about the induction massage I enjoyed yesterday and when I can book my next hair appointment; I ponder whether the specialty Women's Hospital will have a private room for me on their luxury 2nd floor.  I stare at our stainless steel appliances and wonder whether it is possible for my parents to jam any more food into our already stuffed freezer and refrigerator, and I can't remember the last time I lived on a restricted grocery budget when they ask me about our spending.  I eat what I want when I want, and if it's Starbucks at 3:00 pm or dim sum on a Saturday, I don't think twice about going.

We are blessed.  So, so blessed - to live and love freely and choose our own paths without government opposition, to worship God openly, to have a variety of delicious food on the table, and to be able to afford all those "extras" that we have forgotten are indeed "extras."  We are not entitled to these things; they are a blessing from the Lord who is gracious and good and generous beyond measure.  We do not deserve the life we have.  This is why I am committed to my Thankful Threes every day, and why I need to blog this out so that I can remind myself regularly that this life I get to lead is not hard.  It is blessed.  It knows not of suffering or need, but only of abundance and want.  And I desire to worship my Savior who makes it all possible and has afforded me an existence beyond anything I can imagine.   

Thank You, Lord, for everything You are, and everything You give to me.  You are worthy to be praised.  Amen.


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