menuThe story of Noah’s Ark always comes to mind when I wipe down our chalkboard menu. As I wipe a clean slate, I’m reviewing what menu items were winners, what the kids liked, and what never happened because of our schedule, and what was an epic culinary failure. This week is was this cool colorful salad. It looked pretty, but I bought the produce in haste at a bad selection of a grocery store. The salad turned out pretty, but tasted bitter. I threw it out before serving it. It was that bad. I’m still on the fence as to whether I just keep it off the menu, or try again with better quality produce.

I read the scripture of the story of Noah’s Ark over and over again. And all I could think of is it’s life’s easy instructions for pulling yourself out of a hole. I’m a child of a recovering alcoholic. I’m proud of my mom who has been sober for more than 25 years now. I’m 40 now, and if you do the math, I was 15 when she sobered up. The beginning of my teen years were riddled with my mom’s “it’s gonna get really bad before it gets better.”

I say all of this, because today as I read the scripture about Noah and God telling him to build the Ark and start new, start fresh, the details of the instruction, sound to me like life instructions for addicts, or digging yourself out of a big bad hole.

“Take all your people with you. Take a leap of faith. Wipe your slate totally clean.”

Ironically, as Dr. Elnes mentions in the episode, the follow through is when Ham finds Noah drunk and naked on dry land. Been there and done that.

When my mom sobered up, it wasn’t, nor has it ever been easy. We all thought it would wipe our family dysfunction slate clean. But with any reference to family, there’s so much more dysfunction than the one alcoholic.

So, at the beginning of the story, we see Noah as the “chosen one” who acts in certain faith to save his family. But the consequences of his family, and being on a boat with a two by two zoo, turns this noble man into a tortured and vulnerable man. And everyone who survived is left to figure out why.

It’s not so much the sobering up, or building an Ark based on faith that’s the big story. It’s everyday after that, and all of the loved ones you loaded up on the boat who were affected that’s the continuing story.

It’s a big story that has no end. Just like the rainbow.

So, how do you trust a God who allows evil in the world?

I believe that evil or bad things exist to show us exponentially how good things are. We can try to wipe away all the bad. We can try to hide from it. But we’re humans with free will, so bad is going to happen.

As a mom, my kids are 12 years old now, and I’m probably a few years late in realizing that I’ve taught them what’s good and what’s bad. We’ve tried to teach them to be smart and fun but mostly kind. They’ve morphed into their own people now. And every time they hurt each other, I can’t step in and announce they need to apologize. It doesn’t count if I tell them to do it. It matters a whole heck of a lot more if they just do it on their own, with free will.

You can’t appreciate what really good food tastes like unless you’ve tasted really bad food.

You can’t understand how good something is until you see how bad it was before.

You can’t know the high’s without seeing the lows.

Loving someone who is perfect isn’t really love at all.

And you can’t quite understand love without knowing evil or being let down on some level.

Leslie is a blogger for Darkwood Brew. She’s had her own blog for 9 years –, chronicling the crazy moments of mommyhood. She also has a column in HerLiving, a local Omaha Magazine. When she’s not writing, she’s laughing and/or eating with her very tall family: husband, Chris, and twins, Max and Lucy.

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