Monday, June 23, 2008


While I've been here in southern California fighting off the heat, my thoughts have drifted often toward home--where time (and traffic) runs more slowly, where breezes are polite enough to cool you, where the garden yields food for not just the eyes and the stomach, but the nose too. I'm missing the tangy scent of earth, and beans, and ripe-to-the-minute tomatoes. So here's what you get ...

When I grab my one and only Longaberger basket--the one with the frilly blue liner I made myself because I was too frugal to buy theirs, overlaid with the plastic liner I bought from them because I was smart enough to know I'd need it--and head down to the garden, I know I was created to harvest tomatoes. And beans. And whatever else my eyes spy out there. There's something earthly and perfect about hunkering down before a groaning tomato plant, reaching between those curly, pungent leaves, and relieving the branch of a hefty round orb--the scent of which I simply cannot describe. Nor can I quite capture the color. It's almost alive, that ruby hue. Nestled in all that green, those gems practically call your name when you make your appearance through the greenhouse door. "We're here!" And so they are.

So when I'm loading my basket with perfect tomatoes, I know I was created to feel the growing weight of that Longaberger basket slung over my arm.

I'm convinced, too, that I was born to make spaghetti sauce. I feel like a genuine earth mother chopping the peppers, zucchini, garlic and onions that found their way into my basket during the tomato-fetching mission. And when I'm tearing bits of basil from the pot on my patio, I'm quite convinced that God wrote somewhere near my name, a century or two before my birth, "Make this one love to cook." Because I do. I love the tasting and testing that goes with the venture. I love digging through the spices above my stovetop, looking for that one particular something that I'm sure will pull the best flavor out of the pot. I love the warm, lovely smell of just-peeled garlic ... and the patterns made by dancing, jumping herb-flecked splatters ... and the hot sound of burping, burbling, bubbling sauce. And I love that I get to wear -- and wipe my hands on -- my black Starbucks apron.

And though I truly don't want to go all Chariots-of-Fire on you, the truth is, when I'm cooking, I feel God's pleasure. Maybe it's because He's a parent, and a banquet-setter, and the satisfier of all our hunger. He knows what it is to see upturned, expectant faces, and to watch hope dawn in the eyes of the hungry. So when He looks into my kitchen, and sees me stirring that ugly wooden spoon in my sloppy fashion, I feel the rhythm of His heartbeat.

And sometimes, I feel His smile.

2 Comment:

At 6/23/2008 7:48 AM, Anonymous Pam had this to say ...

I love those unexpected moments when the warmth of God is felt. It's so peaceful. Oh and I love your Starbucks apron.

At 7/18/2008 4:45 AM, Blogger Athina had this to say ...

Sooo beautiful post, and lovely tomatoes!


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