For CJR, HJY, MK, AKR, AWC, RH - and all those who helped and offered advice.
Today has been a wonderful day, mostly due to the resolution of something so upsetting, I couldn't sleep at night. Last week, I received an unexpected phone call from the mother of a former student of mine, and she broke the news to me that her son had been expelled from his exclusive private school. I immediately came to attention and asked why, and she hesitantly and brokenly told me that her son had been caught with drugs on campus, and the school decided upon expulsion, but was willing to allow him to withdraw from the school. The matter seemed simple enough to the family, that they would simply enroll him in the public school in their neighborhood. Things became complicated when the public school refused to take the student unless he revealed why he was expelled two weeks before finals, considering he wanted to enroll one week before finals at their school. The school eventually denied him access, saying they didn't want any discipline problems on their campus.
My heart sank as I heard the news and a part of me broke inside. The parents were in a hard place, the student in a harder one, and all were at a loss as to what to do. The parents were not saying that their child was blameless, but rather that the punishment was far more punitive due to the timing of the punishment. He had nowhere to go and no one to take him. I began racking my head, coming up with ideas, offering suggestions and offering my help in whatever way possible. In the days that ensued, there were numerous phone calls back and forth as I tried to get them resources in terms of lawyers, advice, and just more information about their rights as parents. I asked them to go back to the school where he was expelled and asked for compassion and mercy so that he could sit his exams at least, and transfer a full semester of grades to another school. The private school wanted nothing to do with him and repeatedly offered no such pardon. The lawyer was not as helpful as we had hoped and I called forth every single resource I could, in order to help the family and the student.
In the end, I decided to call in a few favors. I was intent on having the student move up to the Bay Area, where I would entreat a few friends of mine who were principals to accept him, vouching my personal reputation that this student would not be further problem for any school. I was prepared to wheedle and owe favors to get him in, and as I began gathering my wits for the verbal parlay that was to follow, I prayed. I prayed hard. I cried that God would do some miracle and this child would be let in. I prayed that it wasn't so that I could be a hero that he would be let in, but it would be a sign of abundant mercy and love for this student that would get him in. And I begged and pleaded with God that I would not have to resort to lying and deceit to get this student into school.
I went to my spin class and continued praying and just emptying my heart to God. After my class, my heart prepared, I walked over to my phone, readying myself to beg for favors from those who had the power to give me what I wanted. On the phone were a string of text messages from the mother, who told me that they had just received word that their son was allowed to attend another private high school in their area. Even better was how they school was going to deal with his first semester grades. The icing on top was that this school had the single sport that my student wanted to play and he would be allowed to play at this school. This school showed him mercy and gave abundantly to him, those things I had been praying for. This school was far better a situation than ANY I could have potentially gotten him in the Bay Area. And this school, I knew was God's answer to the prayer that I had cried out, because in this school, God gave MORE than I had asked for. Not my glory, but truly His.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,"
Immeasurably more. More than I imagine. And for this I am truly blessed. As I shared this experience with friend CJR, she shared the verse from Ephesians 3:20 with me, and it totally was dead right on the spot. And she told me that she could hear how blessed I was, simply from the fervent prayer that I had prayed on someone else's behalf.
The blessing comes from seeing answered prayer, and seeing HOW beautifully and HOW wonderfully God answers. And after this glorious release from pressure and stress, all I could think about was how I would celebrate and rejoice. I decided to celebrate the lightness and the joy - with wings. (I know -a heavy food, but it's light on the spirit.) These are spicy, sweet, savory delicious. They taste great with rice and I know they'd go down super great with some beer. Son and Daughters in between gulps of water and bites of rice, begged for more, and I have to say, licking my fingers of the sauce wasn't bad at all.
Korean-Style Spicy Chicken Wings (매운 닭 날개)
Serves 4 to 6
5 lbs Chicken wings, separated into wings and drummettes, tips discarded
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons red pepper paste (고주장)
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoons roasted sesame seed
Chopped scallions for sprinkling
In a small bowl, mix together marinade ingredients, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and black pepper. Wash chicken wings and pat dry. Rub marinade all over chicken massaging them well. Set aside and allow chicken wings to rest with marinade at least 30 minutes, or overnight. (If you’re going to allow them to sit in the marinade over night, then cover and refrigerate. If you’re going to cook in 30 minutes, leave wings at room temperature.)
Preheat oven to 350. Line roasting pan with tin foil. Roast chicken wings for 40 to 50 minutes. While wings are baking, in a small bowl, make the sauce, mixing together honey, soy sauce, red pepper paste, sake, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and sesame seed. Remove wings from oven.
Increase oven temperature to 500. Brush sauce onto each wing, coating fully. Return wings to the oven, cooking for an additional 2 minutes, until sauce begins to caramelize. Remove wings from heat, and spread one more layer of sauce. Return wings to the oven, and allow them to cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Sprinkle wings with scallions and serve with lots of wet napkins.