While I was in China, I was offered to eat something that looked somewhat questionable. My friends and I were walking down a night market, and our local guide bought his favorite snack and eagerly invited me to try it. It looked like gelatin with pasta bits, served with parsley, wasabi and soy sauce (I think). Our new Chinese friend was such a kind fellow and I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I agreed to give it a try. After a quick prayer, I took a bite, and found that it was extremely salty and quite strange.
I later found out that those were not pasta bits. After doing some Google research, I learned that my mystery snack was called Tusun Dong or Tusun Jelly. Apparently, it is very high in protein, and what I thought were bits of pasta, were actually bits of worms.
But who am I to judge? Filipinos have strange dishes too, and we certainly have our share of questionable treats. Take the rambutan, for instance. We have a stash of fresh rambutan at home at the moment, and as I was snacking on some this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder what Westerners think of this scary-looking fruit. Judging by looks alone, this fruit practically screams “STAY AWAY!” However, if you do manage to pick one up and crack or slice it open, you’ll find that what’s inside looks nothing like what you see on the outside:
If you’ve ever tried slicing one open, you’ll know that the fruit is actually smooth, tender, and sweet. But you’ll never really know that until you actually crack it and get rid of the spiky skin.
This reminds me of all of us as human beings. Regardless of what we’ve gone through or what our lives look like on the outside, there’s still hope and beauty to be found. But to see it, we have to go through some cracking and peeling — sometimes, we need to go through some challenges, or sometimes we need to let go of some things in our lives. Oftentimes it all seems impossible, but the good news is that there’s grace available. At the end of the day, once the struggles and circumstances have passed, there’s fruit to be found — beautiful, life-giving fruit.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant,
but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11
Painful is the right word. Times of pruning, cracking, struggling…these were not my favorite times. But when I look back on those seasons of my life, I can’t help but be grateful. Without the breaking, I would’ve missed out on a lot of blessings.