By Deanna Cook
Saturday evening I was blessed to have supper at my friends’ home. They welcomed me into their home, broadening my world. We sat on the floor on pillows and blankets. We started with cold water infused with orange blossoms. The Persian dishes were lovingly prepared- all new dishes to my palate. Bademjan- an eggplant and tomato stew cooked with turmeric and paired with rice. Baghali Polo, seasoned with dill and saffron, was a rice and lamb centerpiece. Two salads were served: Salad Olvie and Salad Shirazi. “What is your favourite dish?” was asked often but how could you decide- it was all wonderful. As we tried the new dishes, I learned more about my friends, Ali and Fatemeh: their lives back in Tehran and their hopes and dreams for a life started in Regina. I learned about their families and the engagement/wedding traditions in Iran. Stories were shared about cooking with mama and family treats. Our visit continued as the dishes were cleared and we communed over tea. Fears were discussed as my friends, both highly educated professionals, are still searching for jobs. And culture shock is creeping in as they are discovering truths about life in Canada.
Their culture shock echoes my recent graduates. This past September was, for many, their first taste of university classes. And every day during the first week, I would have another of my kids come by for a visit or send me a text. We had tried to warn them in the spring that there were many differences between high school and university. But those words were not understood until they had actually experienced it. Now they were keenly aware of the distinctions between our little school and the vastly-different large university setting. They come back- slightly shocked- trying to voice the radical differences. And often I hear, “I wish I could just come back”. But I remind them, they are ready and prepared for university and adulthood: to not be afraid.
Fear can hinder us- stopping us from living the life God has purposed for us. Just as many of the dishes served on Saturday night were lovingly prepared for us with new, mysterious ingredients, God is preparing us so we can navigate the unknowns of life. We have to trust that God will protect us when we are fearful, will give guidance and courage when we are intimidated, and will reward us for our faithfulness. Paul writes in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” He only wants to give us His best!