by Kari Diane Pike
Funny things -- absolutes. As a child, I declared I would never eat brussel sprouts -- ever. I also insisted that I would never marry a politician and no way, no how would I get married before I completed a doctorate degree in animal science. And some forty years ago, a family friend told me to face up to the fact that my nonmember father would never join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Guess what. I love brussel sprouts, I married a political junky before I completed my freshman year of college, and a little over twenty years ago, my dad accepted the gospel and joined the church.
I bring all this up because I heard a great talk by Elder Choi ( a General Authority for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) last week that has had me pondering the concepts of change and growth and challenges. I'll call it the "kimchi principle."
Kimchi and rice is to Koreans what bread and butter is to Americans. It accompanies pretty much every meal, every day. Kimchi is made with napa cabbage, peppers, salt, radish, onions, and lots and lots -- and lots of garlic. If you've never experienced kimchi, be prepared. It's spicy (translated: HOT!), and it has a most particular and pungent aroma. Most Americans find it offensive. I know I did. Now I have days when I crave this amazing food. Did I mention that kimchi is considered one of the top 10 most nutritious foods? I even talked a Korean friend into showing me how to make my own kimchi.
I've blogged a bit about kimchi in the past, but I loved Elder Choi's analogy so much I just have to share it with you. You see, living the gospel is a lot like kimchi. If you aren't used to living the commandments, you may feel uncomfortable or even dislike it completely. In Korea, if you don't develop a taste for kimchi, you probably won't survive because it is such a staple in their diet. Many people get offended by teachings in the gospel, but they soon discover that without it, they perish.
The process of making kimchi takes time and patience - just like learning the gospel comes line upon line, precept on precept. The whole process is easier if you have someone with you who has experience and knowledge. And many hands working together make the tasks much easier. There are foundational ingredients for kimchi: cabbage, onions, peppers, and garlic. There are as many variations upon that foundation as there are people who make kimchi. The gospel has crucial foundational principles that guide us along the path to eternal life -- and even though different people choose different cultures, that gospel foundation remains the same...namely a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice -- that He came to earth as a man and lived and died and lives again.
If you try a little kimchi every day, you learn to appreciate and even come to love it. The gospel is the same. Exercise faith and do your best to keep the commandments, and pretty soon you will crave the feeling the Spirit bring to you.
I have 15 minutes before my day to post this is over -- so I'll let you ponder on this more on your own. With time and experience...and through overcoming challenges, we grow and our perceptions of the world change. I, for one, am most grateful for the agency we have to change. I am grateful for the healing power of the Atonement and for the Savior's love and patience with me as I learn to love.
What things have you learned and/or come to appreciate in your life?