Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just Fresh

      Our fridge is overrun with green things - the good kind! Don and I signed up for the CSA at Boone Hall Farms just down the road from us.  In a CSA (community supported agriculture), a farmer offers a certain number of shares to the public.  We bought our share (planted our crops, as it were) in November.  Now, we receive a share of whatever has just been picked at the farm in an overflowing green tub  - vegetables, fruits and even local free range eggs.  For the past few weeks, we’ve been feasting on strawberries, plantation onions, cabbage, romaine lettuce, and a mess of greens -  turnips and turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens.  Yes, we’re really eating green this spring.
     I usually grow a few veggies and herbs in a tiny corner in the backyard but I love this bounty of local food.  The CSA is a reminder that food really is seasonal - that just because I can buy apples or peaches year round at the grocery store  - they’re not in season locally.  It’s a reminder of times before big boxes when the evening dinner came from the morning picking.   It’s a reminder that there are farmers in our community working hard to keep food fresh and local.  It’s a reminder that weather matters and that we are truly connected to the earth we live on.   Last week, as I picked up my collards, cabbage, onions and strawberries, the farm worker commented.  “Yeah, we thought the squash would be in by now - but that cold snap last week slowed everything down.”   
     And I love the surprise factor.  What will we get this week?  What new recipe can I try with mustard greens?  It's a lot like life.  What will I find in my basket this week and what will I do with it? 
     And the most important question, what will I do with all this romaine lettuce?  You can only eat so much romaine.


       There are those moments in time when your perception of yourself changes. You hit 18. You land your first professional job. You become a mom. You have a store clerk tell you that the reason the fancy shoes don’t fit is because you have short, stubby toes.
     I was shocked.
     Not that I aspire to be a toe model, but I always thought I had lovely, feminine feet. Short and stubby sounds rather masculine. As an exercise instructor, I well know people’s subjective perception of themselves differs from reality. I’ll tell them to straighten their backs, and they nod from their hunched-back turtle poses as if I’m talking to others in the class. 
     I try to keep an open mind on the filters on my perceptions that may be keeping me from making changes for the good. But short and stubby? There are other body parts she could have attacked, and I would have agreed. I noticed a week after the shocking revelation, I was avoiding looking at my toes. I had to laugh at myself.
     Short and stubby or long and elegant, what did it matter? They help me walk, run and hold yoga poses. They have character and toenails that grow straight up on some toes. They bring me joy to wiggle.
     All I need is a little paint for the piggies.


     Last weekend, I had the chance to attend A [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant, held in Decatur, GA. I could write a whole book about it, I think -- how it wildly exceeded my hopes, how it was a remarkable example of the way Christians should be able to approach difficult subjects, how there was (at least in my hearing) no name calling or questioning of anyone's faith, how both the Bible and the Spirit who inspired it were engaged thoughtfully and prayerfully by the speakers, how respect was the guiding principle in our small group discussions even when there was disagreement.               
     But the most powerful moment for me was the worship service that closed the conference on Saturday. When it was time for communion, we formed a line to the front of the sanctuary where ministers held out the elements of bread and juice. Instead of the presiding ministers serving everyone, however, we served one another. After I took the bread and juice from the person in front of me, I then took the elements and offered them to the next person in line with the words we'd been told to say: "Accept these symbols of Christ's body and life, our oneness." At one moment I realized that most of the people there were strangers to me, and I didn't know how to fit them into many of the categories that so often determine how we treat one another -- liberal or conservative, gay or straight, clergy or layperson, rich or poor, educated or uneducated. And I was glad to be able to see them not in those terms, but as my sisters and brothers. 
     It must have been something like what Paul meant when he wrote in Galatians 3:28 that there is "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." As I left the conference, my prayer was that we could all focus on that rather than the things that divide us.


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