Tuesday, October 23, 2007
On Being Jalowiec
When I met my husband, I never knew or heard of so many things- things he gladly shared with me!
Like Herkimer, the small valley town in Central New York where he grew up. I had heard of Herkimer Diamonds, though I never knew they were so close to here, and that they were so called because of the town!
I never knew many Polish names use as few vowels as possible. We have had the necessity of going to a few funerals and cemeteries over the years, and we are always amazed at the names. There was one that had 5 consonants in a row, and only one vowel for the entire 8 letter name! We really should have written it down! Think about the Wheel of Fortune that would make... no extra vowel purchases needed!
I now know the name I carry on my drivers license means "juniper". A tree mentioned in the Bible from the time of Job and Elijah. Also, there is a mountain in Poland bearing the same name. Jalowiec Mountain
I have learned of Wigelia. It is a meal eaten on Christmas Eve that has so much tradition steeped in it, one has a hard time keeping up. I only know it has taken me about 15 of the 20 years I have been going to acclimate to the foods. So much dried fruit and carbohydrates, and not a piece of meat to be found! Now I actually look forward to some of the dishes. Others, not so much!
I have experienced a different culture, class and potential cholesterol shock.
I have also experienced deep family love, commitment, and pride in ones heritage.
My father-in-law is a wise and industrious
man. He was in WWII, one of the vets that still walk the soil of this proud land. He instilled in my husband a deep sense of faith and a strong work ethic. There are many things I love about this man, and his Cupie Doll curl on the top of his head is only the beginning!
His wife, my mother-in-law, is a strong and talented woman. She ran her own business for over 50 years, and even after she wanted to retire, continued to work into her 70's. She always finds ways to make even a simple occasion full of memory and excitement. Her sense of style is evident even now as she struggles to breathe because of her failing health. While she does little of what she once could, I pray my children still learn from her. She is from a class of women that are graduating far too few these days!
Why all the nostalgia? I realize with every ring of the phone, we are waiting for "the news". Both are in poor health, and we are feeling the pressure of possible regrets. We should have spent more time, sent more cards, called more often. Mostly, we are very uncertain of their eternal state. Both have listened to the Gospel, both have had our children ask them very point blank questions. Neither have said anything that would lead us to believe they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. All we can do is pray. God knows their need, He knows what their obstacle is. We pray with faith that He will crumble the veneer and rock that years of religion have built around their hearts. We pray their pride will fall away as they face their mortality and realize there is little left between them and the day they will meet their Creator.
Would you pray with us? There is no greater purpose to this life than to bring Glory to God by praying "home" another soul to praise Him eternally!