This last essay for “Culture Care” book will be added to future editions of “Culture Care”, as it is added in Korean and Spanish versions.
This book begins with a story of a young married couple. My early journey has been key part of this book. I have tried to live out the beauty of the bouquet of flowers Judy gifted me with. So, it is with great sadness to report that our marriage ended abruptly after thirty three years in 2016. Even in telling this story of brokenness, I have done my best to love and cherish the gift that Judy has been, and I have confidence in my heart that I will continue to do so. That bouquet was one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life. I celebrate them, as well as our remarkable three children, as I write this last chapter.
I have written in this book that every challenge in life is an opportunity for a new beginning. As I went through the layered and lingering traumas of last years, I had to truly believe my own words. Every chapter of this book has gained a new meaning. It was as if my past voices came back, resurrected in me as I persevered and tried to “suffer well” over the last months. I needed to hear that generative voice which reverberates throughout this book in order to face the overwhelming darkness and sadness which suddenly overtook my journey.
Life brings many difficulties and challenges. Jesus promised an abundant life, but never an easy one. Perhaps you, too, have been hit with the unthinkable, something you have never expected, and someone you cherish has been taken away from you. Culture Care is not an idealist’s escapist journey. Culture Care requires hard tilling, and daily, attentive care of your own life and culture, even through the storms of life. Culture Care is a journey of hope, earned through the turmoils of the “present darkness”. Culture Care is a journey of grace.
May our lives be marked with care through the brokenness and the traumas, providing a condition for the new spring to arrive in due time. There will be more bouquets to come out of that soil - called life. Even if you can’t see the spring yet, and especially when the winter is hard and setting in, it’s time to remember the abundant colors of the “the last bouquet”. Generativity is birthed out of fissures etched deeply in our lives and our cultures, out of the present aches and pains – our “birth-pangs” that St. Paul speaks of in Romans 8. I hope you will find that to be true, as I am also finding to be true in the challenges of my own life.