Spring is slow to come this year in East TN. The sun seems to have forgotten how to find its way through the clouds and water stands still in my pot of pansies, frozen.
I have felt a little frozen, too.
Days inside with a toddler stretch long. Homeschooling a middle-schooler feels tedious. College prep for my 17-year-old overwhelms. (Yes, I’m doing all those things at the same time. So much for logical family planning.:)) I’d rather nap than return phone calls and I keep finding excuses to stay in my pajamas. My desire to write good things and read good things and eat good things seems to have vanished with the sun.
But one day in the grayness of March, the sun broke through. Not literally, necessarily, but in my life, in my heart.
I was reminded of the gospel in a pot of soup.
It had been a long day and it was only 1:00. I had been cleaning up potty messes and declining Latin nouns and trying to keep up with the clutter my 2-year-old tornado was scattering to the winds. I was trying to remain grateful and trying to not to lose my temper and trying and trying and trying. After finishing the lunch dishes, I began to salivate for nap time. But no, it was Tuesday, my night to teach ballet, so instead of resting while my toddler rested I needed to get dinner in the crock pot and prepare for class.
That’s when I got the text. My dear friend and across-the-street neighbor sent a text that said, “I may have dinner for you tonight. Call me.”
It didn’t take me long to return that phone call.
My friend devotes herself to healthy living: physically, mentally, and spiritually. She and her teenage daughter had spent the morning making a delicious pot of Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup. I had given her the recipe long ago, and she had improved it by using the finest ingredients like organic vegetables and beef sirloin. This was one delicious pot of soup that everyone in her house was eagerly anticipating as the good smells emanated from her kitchen.
My friend was enjoying that satisfaction that comes with knowing that something good simmered on the stove and she could go about her afternoon looking forward to a tasty, healthy dinner with her family. Until she realized that her sweet teenage helper had put something in the soup that people in the house were allergic to… a bouillon powder that they couldn’t eat, pulled from a forgotten corner of the cabinet. Supremely healthy by anyone’s standards, but not edible for her family.
“Do you want the soup?” she asked. As I sat looking at the soaking pinto beans which comprised the best plan I had for dinner I didn’t hesitate. “Yes! I want the soup!”
As I walked the Earth-Fare-laden pot back across my street in the gray afternoon light, I could smell oregano and basil and fresh spinach just stirred in. Suddenly my taste reawakened for good things. I wanted to savor this soup and write and sing and dance right there in the middle of the street. Grace and goodness began to thaw out my frozen heart.
I also realized something as I clutched her spotless stainless steel pot. I did nothing to deserve this pot of soup. I didn’t shop for the quality ingredients, nor did I pay for them. I didn’t chop the veggies or or wash the spinach or brown the sirloin. I didn’t stir or add seasonings until the flavor was just right. I didn’t do anything but walk across the street and receive it.
Realizing this, I wanted to sit down in the middle of the road and weep. God reached into my gray and cranky day and reminded me of the gospel. Reminded me that He loves me. Reminded me that no matter how hard I try, I will never deserve the gift I have received in Jesus. Just as I did nothing to create this pot of delicious soup, I did nothing to create my salvation. It was all done for me by one who loves me. All I have to do is receive it. And enjoy it with gratefulness.
Which I did. 🙂