El albergue

El albergue

Monday, November 10, 2014

On food and fellowship

Recently, I have found myself thinking about food. Big surprise, right? I haven’t been really thinking about any food in particular though, haven’t been salivating over some new recipe or idea that begs to be tried out. I’ve just been thinking about food as a whole, about how it fits into a normal life. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how it is such an intrinsically social thing.

All my life, food has been so closely linked with family and friends, with festive gatherings and coffee dates. It has been a thing to be enjoyed and lingered over in good company. Cooking and sharing food long ago became a part of how I connect to people, how I share love and support.

So just the other day, when my little sister sent me a recipe that she told me I needed to try, it was a bit jolting to see myself writing back, “Most nights I’m working, so I hardly ever cook anymore.” All of a sudden I realized how far food has devolved in my life as of late. Working evening shifts and not having someone at home with whom to share mealtimes (my roommate is usually in her pajamas by the time I get home) means most of my meals are hurried, a bit of a helter-skelter operation.

I have been eating just to eat rather than to enjoy and experience.

How terribly depressing that sounds! I mean, many meals do end up being mostly about stuffing in the nourishment our bodies need so we can continue on with our days, but to have ALL meals turn into this unconscious, busy feeding?


Surely there must be a remedy for this, a way to get fellowship and community back into my mealtimes, a way to bring back the spice of true enjoyment.  I suppose that means I must be mindful, purposeful, seeking to share, experience, and truly connect where I can in the midst of this busy life....

Fellowship and food, man, that’s where it’s at.

Spring Ranch

It was a glorious morning for watching the waves. The warmth of the sun was gently coaxing the dew from the ground in a misty sheen that mixed with the spray from the sea. And what a sea it was. No limp, lax waves were these, whispering softly in the sands. No, these were great, crashing things whose turgid swells brought to mind elephants and rolling grey whales. They reared back from underwater rocks to fall upon them with greater strength, their roar causing us to raise our voices to be understood.

And so for the most part, we remained silent, eating apples from Kathy’s tree as we started out at these waves. And when at last we tossed away our stems and seeds, brushed off our pants, and continued on, they stayed with us, accompanying our stroll along the cliffs.

Their spray spread a veil of mystery over the southward cypress groves. Their crashing was the voice of the elfin pine tree forest even farther south. They lept up to greet us when we stood on the edge to look down. And as we followed the path back to the car, they rocked the buoy whose warning bell came faintly to us on the wind rustling through the coastal prairie grasses.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Stars

Every night, when I come home, I pull into the driveway, turn off my car, and sit for just a minute. I close my eyes and let the keyed-up energy from work seep out of me. Then I look out my windshield, up above our clearing in the woods, and I see the stars. No, I see the entire Milky Way splashed across the heavens in glorious array. It is like a vast, jeweled ceiling put in place just for me, to dazzle me with its beauty.

Every night, this fills me with awe. Complete and utter wonder.

I pick up my things from the passenger seat, swing open my door, and step out into this wonder. I stand by my car, gazing up, my eyes searching, tracing, drinking in these stars to the very last drop of their glory. As I gaze, my spirit fills to overflowing within me, and I feel as if I might burst for the very fullness of my heart. Should I cry? Should I sing? Should I laugh? Should I dance? Should I remain in immobile silence?

Sometimes the stars call forth one response, sometimes another. Sometimes, two or three wriggle out of me together, and it cannot be helped.

Every night, when I come home, I look upon the stars. And every night, as they shine brightly on, they minister to my heart.