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To Living Like I Cook

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I just had a spiritual experience with a simmering pot of beans and rice.

I’ve been in a slump lately. Due to various circumstances, I’ve been wrestling with uncertainty, disappointment, and a bit of loneliness in life. Unfortunately, these sections of sadness sometimes cloud a lot of the good things in life too–the good opportunities, the good people, the good changes.

Consequently, I’ve been trying to battle negativity with my prayer life by affirming the consolation of God in the life-giving aspects of my world. This has been a real struggle.

But this evening I cooked for the first time in a long time, in months really. While living in LA the past 5 months, I didn’t have a kitchen so I simply couldn’t indulge this favorite past time. As I took in the biting scent of the onion I chopped, listened to the song of the simmering rice and beans, and smelled the overwhelming spices and Salsa Lizano, I was overwhelmed by Beauty. There has always been something sacramental about cooking for me: simple, earthy things like tomato, grains of rice, salt and pepper, and tiny black beans are consecrated in a warm pot and transformed into something else…something beautiful and satisfying.

I didn’t realize how much I missed cooking until I stood over the steaming pot of beans and rice. I need to keep cooking. I need to keep doing things that pull me to God. Things that remind me that the ordinary does become extraordinary all the time, with a little work. A little patience. A little wonder. I need to remember to live like I cook. With gratitude.

1 Comment

  1. Mari says:

    Jessica, this post was beautiful. I have been reading your blog for about a month now [thank you facebook] and I find it so lovely, so true, so challenging and comforting. I’m sure you’ve been told billions of times that you are a striking writer and an exquisite thinker, and I cannot wait for you to start publishing. I am so impressed with what you’ve done and where you’re going and all your wonderful and worthy passions. Completely inspirational. I am so happy and blessed that you’re writing!

    Mari Andrew [I went to Japan with you many moons ago; I’m so glad I will some day be able to brag about this when you’re a famous theologian!]

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