The Gospel According to My Kitchen Sink
I have been a Christian since 2006. Though my parents brought me up Catholic, I was a kid that had so many doubts about the inconsistencies of the Bible and I ended up being a religious rogue as an adult. Despite that, I had always known that God is ubiquitous and had always lifted me up from the depths of the worst crises one can ever imagine. So when a portion of the Bible was re-introduced to me via National Geographic last year, I found myself open to it. My Christianity, however, is a personal thing. You won’t see me write about it publicly, much in the same way that I keep the depths of my feelings for my partner in a private journal that only we can see. My Christianity is hard to explain: I only refer to myself as a Christian — not Catholic, not Protestant, not a member of any Christian sect — and I refer to God as a mother, for women are the only beings gifted with the capability of producing life. I have no wish to discuss rhetorics and dialectics over this because to do so is to box God into man’s miniscule way of thinking. What I have is a relationship that I see no need to defend, hence I keep it private.
My Christianity is so private that my sister only found out about it recently. But I had maintained my personal relationship with God and Christ in my ever-so-reliable Starbucks Planner. Lovingly hand-written, defying everything I teach about the wonders of technology. It had kept me sane when I was driven mad by my responsibilities — turbulent personal life, intoxicating work and demanding master’s. When I was struggling so hard not to hate my “thesis” adviser. When work was fraught with temptations that I find myself ill-equipped to resist. Such negative feelings occupy so much space in the heart that Christ would have a difficult time living there. And so I write. And I write. And I write. For strength, for guidance, for forgiveness, for deliverance…thanking God for each and every moment that I survive every obstacle thrown my way.
The answer to my sister’s question? How I can have the most number of issues she has ever seen anyone endure and yet live through it with a smile? It’s this. I may have thrown myself into all these issues, being the curious kitty that I am, but God let me try them all, knowing that I am strong enough to handle them and live to proudly wear my battle scars.
The Gospel According to My Kitchen Sink, written by my mom’s friend and former colleague Tita Susan, is something that I found myself relating to. The book has been in my mom’s care for half a decade and yet it was only recently that I was able to find the time to sit down and read it. Tita Susan, like me, is a woman who smiles a lot. This book, which is a testament of her own personal relationship with God, is actually a compilation of snippets taken from her journal. She tells anecdotes and at the end of each anecdote is a question to ponder on. From simple questions like, “Do you have any humorous stories in your childhood?” to thought-provoking, “Do you have an ‘Isaac’ in your life that God asks you to surrender fully?” to highly biblical ones like, “Do you want the floodgates of heaven to open for you? Follow Malachi 3:10.”
Tita Susan is no best-writing author, not being one who’s out to impress with jargon overusage or Microsoft Word’s Thesaurus. What she is is someone who writes from the heart, with stories that encompass a lot of things. Some are about her family and children, some are about her colleagues, and some are about random people she meets. She talks about her day-to-day life, one that deals with financial issues, career moves, life-altering options and marital stuff like how to submit to your husband — a concept that I have yet to grasp fully, since I have had a bad experience the last time I tried it. God is the center of every tale and the moral is always that God has a way of opening windows for you when doors close. I love reading about all of them, not just because my own mother is mentioned in some of the passages, but also because I know how it feels like to have plans and have them railroaded. Yet you’d be pleasantly surprised as everything turns out so much better in the end.
My favorite, and what spoke to me most, is the story about how Tita Susan burned her chicken soup dry because she was juggling so many things while cooking. A paragraph reads: “Yes, I did not only burn the chicken, but many times I also burned myself out, because of too many commitments, of not being able to say no, of trying to be a superwoman, only to be chastened by God’s word. ‘Be still and Know That I am God.’”
The only thing I find myself itching to change in this book are the aesthetics. The general font face is Arial and sometimes they’d just randomly switch to Comic Sans Serif, which is the worst possible font one could ever think of using. The layout could use some work and have real illustrations instead of royalty-free stock photos. I would love to sit down and work on a coffee-table version of this, if only to give justice to its beautiful content.