One of my favourite memories of living in McCord, SK was helping process chickens in July. I was thinking of this alot this past week as I have been intentionally reflecting many experiences I have had in the past five years. I find that having an experience – concrete, or emotional, in person or as a result of reading a book or watching a movie – is kind of like eating meat.
You don’t kill a chicken then swallow it whole; you process it. You kill and bleed, pluck and clean it, (even the pin feathers) prepare and cook it, then you chew it and swallow – or else you could get very sick or choke on it. Same thing with experiences; whether light and fun, or on which has taken heart-and soul-energy, unless the experience is “processed”, I can get very sick. (Some people take, or want to take, their own life because they were unable to process a memory enough, or get rid of the pain from it.) I don’t want to get sick because I haven’t taken the time, or the energy, to process and chew on these many experiences (even the good ones, which are by far the majority). On sabbatical, now I have both.
There’s a story about a man who, returning to his ancestral home, found himself processing some of his memories; some good, others not so good, some of how he betrayed family, others of times he had been hurt by them. One night he found himself wrestling with them. He tossed and turned so much, it was as if he were wrestling with a man. Just before dawn he pinned his adversary to the ground, and demanded that he be given a blessing before he let go. When the man got up in the morning, even knowing he had been blessed by the Holy One, he found he was tired from the wrestling, and that his hip had been injured in the process; in fact, he limped for the rest of his life. (You may know the story as “Jacob wrestles an Angel” or “When Jacob became Israel”.) That’s what happens when we process memories; we wrestle them – even the good ones – until we receive their blessing for us. We are touched by the Sacredness of Life, and are forever changed by the process.
Writing is one of the ways that I review and pluck and clean an experience; sharing this blog is one way that I chew and swallow them. So thank you for sharing with me this process (that sometimes feels alot like “Chicken Day”). I may not need to share the “what”, focusing instead on the goodness, the challenges and learnings, the growth, the sacredness, with which I have been blessed as a result of the wrestling and processing.
And blessed I have been, in abundance, and changed. I still have more questions than answers from them. So please, leave comments and your answers to questions that remain. Then you can be my angel, and I will continue to be blessed with learning and growth, and sacredness.