A Eucharist: Feasting

I love being in the kitchen, knitting molecules of food together, feeling the sense of wholeness that it brings to me to prepare a full feast with someone I love, my sister, and laughing and consulting and feeling everything become whole and warm inside.  Everything is transfused—the chicken broth seeps into every unseen crevice of the carrot, and what was sweet becomes unbearably savoury.  That’s what we do.  We mix and match, throw a little of this in, a little more of that, and every scent and smell and texture that is different in every way fuses together and changes completely.  A chemical change.  We create a feast.  We use every dish in the house, even though none of them match.   Every dish is laid out, all the varieties of colors, everything we’ve made from scratch (and perhaps one or two things not made from scratch).  And we thank God for the feast, the fellowship.  We eat.  Breaking the molecules apart, and suddenly I feel broken, especially the next day when it’s all over.

But then I have heard since my earliest days a story floating around like the whisper of something great that’s going to happen.  It has passed from the lips of Christians in the church, passed with a smile of relief, and an absent-minded look, as if the speaker isn’t entirely there.  A continual feast.  No brokenness, no end.  Everything is whole, all the time.  Feasting on joy, feasting on wholeness that remains whole, feasting on gratitude and love.  This is what was in our food, and yet, these things when they’re on earth, they disappear.  Love disappears so quickly, and is replaced with lust and passion. Gratefulness sinks into criticism.  Joy slowly digresses and is replaced with discontentment.  These things are gifts, and we fail to retain them all the time.

The wind blew cold today, and it blew freshness into my hot soul, and a new kind of life into my lungs.  The slap of the waves on the sea as they rush up to wash around my boots, and I leave my hands open and free, seeing how long I can go with them cold, how long before I must tuck them into the warmth of my wool sweater.  The cathedral, every single grave is bathed in a flitting sunlight that flashes here and there, but through the dark clouds above, warms me, and makes even death seem golden.  To the North, the hills are capped in snow.  Winter is coming fast, I sense it in the wind as I sit in its breath writing my gifts.

Can I think of one thousand gifts? Can I even think of one gift?  During Thanksgiving season, all over Facebook, all over blogs, I see people being thankful for one gift every day.  And after Thanksgiving—are we done being grateful? Why is it so important only during this season? I wish we could spend all the time in the kitchen, stealing time to take a walk above the fields and stopping for a moment to write down a thought, a story, but returning to the kitchen, always, making feasts every day, washing the dishes every day, baking again, knitting molecules again, creating wholeness.  I wish we could do it every day, and I wish that every day we could celebrate this Eucharist, even without the food.  Why are we so quick to overlook the opportunities for joy now, here? Why are we so eager to accept brokenness and depression? And finally, what does it mean to live a good life?

I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy. – Anne Frank

I wake up smiling, thinking of gifts now, because I feel like I should.  A good life.  Living a good life.  Being grateful, truly grateful, and living out thankfulness.  That quote up there—I am convicted about it, and feel myself wanting to weep.  That I should be unhappy and ungrateful when I have a life with no misery, while Anne Frank who lived a hunted life filled with horror and blood should be grateful, and happy!

Embrace your life.  Live your thankfulness, not only during November, but every day, all day.  Live slowly, purely, live well.  We always talk about this—about living thankful lives.  But don’t just say: “I’m thankful.” Think of what you’re grateful for.  Think of your gifts—gifts that have been given to you.  Material and immaterial.  Individual things.  On one piece of paper, on a chalk board, or on your heart write one gift—only one.  And then, continue writing.  Write these gifts for the rest of your life, and live the thankfulness you feel for them, and for the One who gave them to you.

In heaven there’s a feast for the saints, a feast that will not end, and there will be no end to our thankfulness.

Advertisements

Scavenger Hunt

We caught sight of cheeses, crackers, grapes, shrimp, bacon, potatoes, pork chops, home-made applesauce and ice cream before we went upstairs, with the smell of apple pie lingering in our nostrils.  The dinner aromas are creeping up to the third floor, where a game of boggle is being played, and boys are arguing that “gotta” is a legit word.

We’re starting to get very, very hungry.

But.

It’s that one time where we have to use our wits in order to procure a dinner.

We must all be a Sherlock Holmes.

“Ruby, are you going to hunt for your food?!”

By a series of hints and clues, careful digging and searching, and, of course, by the use of our noses, we hope to find our dinner.

It all started awhile ago when we started backing out of the Halloween celebrations.  An alternative was created (this was before we started having Reformation Festivales.)  A scavenger hunt.  Dad thought up clues, and mom cooked dinner, placing each course in a different part of the house.  The kids were sent upstairs, and then it was their job to find the food by using the clues.  We haven’t done it in years, since we normally had a Reformation Festival.  But we did the Reformation Festival for 7 years in a row, and we thought that maybe this could be our “rest” year.  SO. We’re having the Scavenger Hunt tonight!

I know this is a rather far fetched thought… but supposing the clues were really really difficult, and we were denied food until we figured them out… it makes me very thankful for the call: “Hey kids! Dinner’s on, come and get it!”

The cold weather is setting in, folks.  It’s time to get out your booklists, pile up the firewood, put stacks of warm blankets in every room, and stock up on the tea.

As a status update (for a first) I have a group of four screaming children running up and down the stairs (or hobbling, rather) and racing around my room.  How to describe what they’re doing… they’ve put on their pants with their legs completely bended, so that their knees act as their feet.  Yes, they are racing around like that.  They look like quadriplegics (even though quadriplegic doesn’t mean what I think it does [insert Princess Bride quote: I do not think that word means what you think it means….]), except they have half their legs and their arms.  They’ve moved their activity down to the bedrooms, and the cat is unsuccessfully trying to lie down on my keyboard.

Today Luther came up and asked me to help him with his reading lesson. (CAT HAS SUCCESSFULLY SETTLED ON MY STOMACH… result… caps… awww, his eyes are closed… I think I’ll leave him.) Anyway, I stopped doing my math in order to help him out, and after he read to me all about King Alfred and Athe-wulf (he had trouble saying Athelwulf,) he got up and said: “I am SO sorry for bothering you. That took me SO long – I am so bad at it.  You could have had SO much math done by now!”  It made me laugh, and even if I did take longer on math today, I was so thankful that I was able to help him and spend time with him.  He’s such a precious boy.  He said a few days ago: “Ruby, if you were in an airplane, could you drink the clouds?”

Man, these kids are going to be hungry… they’re romping up here again.  They look like oversized frogs trying to out-leap each other.  And whenever they try to climb on the bed, they just tumble off again.

Have to go! Apparently we have to change locations, for purposes of hiding food… :D