A few weeks ago, a friend of mine bought home some Klondike bars for her husband, who is particular about his ice cream. He has one flavor that he enjoys – Vanilla. Klondike bars are vanilla, covered with chocolate; however, the ice cream itself is vanilla. This box, however, had orange colored vanilla ice cream in celebration of the Halloween season. It was the original Klondike bar, just with orange colored vanilla ice cream. After one bite into his Klondike bar, he remarked that there was something wrong. The ice cream may have tasted like vanilla, but it looked like orange. That was enough to change the whole experience. It was still, however, the original Klondike bar.
As I thought about this experience, I was reminded of a friend who has her own “vanilla” preference for reading scripture. Despite the diversity of translations of the Bible, and there are numerous, she will only read the King James Version of the bible. She, like my friends husband, recognizes that there are a diversity of other translations available, but she will only read out of the King James Version. A few years ago, someone she knew gave her a new Bible. Initially, she was excited. However, then she realized it was not the King James Version, but the NEW King James Version. It was like an orange colored vanilla Klondike bar. It was the same, but different at the same time.
This notion of same, but different reminded me of a lesson in Alice Walker’s book The Same River Twice. It is never the same river twice. So often we can look at something and it looks the same on the outside. We can be sitting by a creek bed for hours and it feels as if it is the same creek bed, but it is not. It has physically changed in the time we were sitting there. The water is different, the dirt is different, the river stones are different. it looks the same on the outside, but it is different.
The memories of what something is like may be frozen in time and in our memories, but each experience is different. In part, that is because we are ever changing: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. We are like Klondike bars. We look the same on the outside, but we are ever changing. It is this ever changing state of being which enables us to continuously experience life anew and to continually learn from life’s lessons. In the Same River Twice, Alice Walker returned to a river from her past The Color Purple and explores it anew. It is like the orange colored Klondike bar, it is the same, but different.
As we grow and evolve in life, we gain new perspectives and get to experience the old in new ways. Some of us will be okay with the newness, others will not. At the end of the day, it is still the original Klondike bar