Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shrimp Scampi Oxymoron

Scrumptious shrimp, perfect for Shrimp Scampi I just had Shrimp Scampi for dinner at a friend's house. My friend asked if I liked my favorite meal.

"Favorite meal? What do you mean?" I asked. Then my friend reminded me that I used to delight in buying Shrimp Scampi from Trader Joe's for Bodine family dinners.

Wow. That was more than ten years ago! Amazing that my friend would remember how much I used to enjoy that. My ebullience back then must have made quite an impression. How sad that the death of a family can kill your memories so subtly. I had totally forgotten how much I used to enjoy buying Shrimp Scampi for the Bodines (had to buy a few boxes at a time), how much I used to enjoy bringing it for dinner. But today, it holds no special memories for me, to the point that, perhaps as a coping mechanism, I had forgotten it all.

See, the Bodine family used to invite me to overnight with them before Sunday worship. Under their father's headship, they were very hospitable and often entertained guests. The high point of the visit, at least for me, would be family dinner.

I know most American families have lost sight of  family dinner, where the entire family sits around the table, prays together, eats together and fellowships together. But the Bodines would always begin dinner by reciting a memory Scripture verse for the week. It was always refreshing to be at the Bodine household.

In fact, I always thought that was oxymoronic. And I told others so. See, the Bodine's had seven children. Yet it was always refreshing to visit the Bodines. Refreshing with seven children? Yes, even with seven children.

Now, in my family, we only had three kids. But we were not Christian and I would never describe being with our family as "refreshing." (I admit, a lot of that was due to me, my sin. I wasn't a believer in those days.) We were the typical American family, full of discord and disrespect. I suppose it was somewhat merciful that we never entertained guests. But the Bodine family was Christian. Or at least the kids were raised Christian and, under their father's headship, were orderly and respectful.

Under their father (with Mrs. Bodine and older children willingly helping), the children were always well mannered, and always very friendly. Words cannot describe the joy I felt as we would talk around the table, laugh about my special words (like "pejorative") or my Monty Python-like screechy imitation of  a woman friend of mine. They would graciously make me the center of attention at dinner and I would steer the conversation around to all the children, asking them how they would apply the Word of God to various situations in life. What a wonderful, wonderful time of fellowship. Mrs. Bodine even quoted Scripture, reminding me once that "The two shall become one flesh." (Ha! Apparently she never really believed that.) Their oldest seemed wise beyond her age and carried herself well. (Apparently an illusion too.) Even the youngest was well behaved, thanks to family discipline, and rarely threw tantrums.

But, I'm sad to say, those days are gone. The Mrs. Bodine we knew (or thought we knew) is gone, never ever to come back to us again.

Ordinarily, old memories are cheerfully remembered or at best forgotten. But these memories are painful now.

It's not just the emptiness death leaves in its wake that makes the memories painful now. We can remember the fun times we had with people who have departed as a result of natural means. But here, Mrs. Bodine has been replaced with the overtly evil Melody Thomas-Morgan. The current reality has killed off the pleasant memories, illusionary though they were, never to be revisited or relived again.

See, as often happens in divorce, while Mrs. Bodine was dying, she poisoned the children. She poisoned them against God, against their father, their grandfather, and others. She took her children with her. As of this writing, it appears most of the children (at least the daughters) are still with her in death. (Spiritually speaking, for those of you who aren't Christian and are taking 'death' literally.)

While I believe in confession of sin and restoration, none of the kids have been forthcoming. (I would have heard.) Nor am I optimistic that any of the older will be resuscitated. See, the longer you remain in sin, the likelier seared your conscience. So for now, the Bodine family—what little remains—is just like every other godless American family. They're normal. Worldly. (Carnal.) No more reciting of Scripture verses before dinner.

Ironically, that's exactly what the late Mrs. Bodine intimated she wanted during her divorce trial. Now she has it. (As the saying goes, "be careful what you pray for. You just might get it." And there's some Scriptural basis for that saying.)

Well, at least the kids don't present an oxymoron anymore. No more fellowship with them around a meal anymore. Instead, as they are now, they make Jesus want to vomit.

Me too.

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