I love that Jesus is fearful.
He climbs the mountain and sits down.
The needy crowd follows him and sits at his feet waiting
and he heals them, speaks of their suffering,
tells his disciples his heart is sick.
He fears they will collapse for lack of food.
Could he assuage their hunger
as he heals their ills? He doesn’t.
He uses real food.
I use real food.
This must be the oneness of divinity and humanity.
What about when you swirl the hot pan with oil,
when you peel, slice, and chop the sweet onion,
when you sauté everything you have prepared and marinated,
is it not real food?
This is sacramental.
We are hungry children, a needy crowd.
How fearful we are when everyone is waiting
for us to provide and heal. And yet we feed
and heal and love through this sacrament of bread and fish
of food and grace.
We make this life together,
our own dusty prints over the road;
our own hands making up
and turning down the beds;
our own mouths tasting
the bitter and the sweet, the salty and the sour;
like Rumi’s chick pea and cook,
we are each other’s teacher,
hitting each other with the skimming spoon,
boiling in our passions and in our sufferings,
in our mysteries and in our unknowings.
And these baby chick peas
we think we are cooking; they are
cooking us, the little gurus, the little lights,
the little creatures bedazzling our tapestry,
its bedraggled edges torn through sleeplessness
and sorrows. We are all jumping in and out
of this blessing pot together, our understanding
deepened and flavored, our love seasoned and spiced.
Our beds warmed and cooled; you are my blanket,
I am your pillow; they our comforters, we their bed.
Our footprints pressing deep and creating distinction.
We carry each other over the road, through the joys.
Christ within us, keeping together.
Backing down the drive we see snow and sleet on the cold stones and grass,
evidence of winter’s long-clutching grasp on Ohio.
We head to church, the grocery, back to church school,
and finally home where we hang coats, store mittens, and wash hands.
We dice red onion and cooked chicken,
slice black olives and grape tomatoes.
We layer the crust with olive oil, basil, mozzarella,
and all of our dicing and slicing while the oven heats.
The tomato bisque is ladled into glass bowls,
and the leafy salad arranged on ceramic plates.
There is talk of croutons and pizza,
strawberries and yogurt, and even melted chocolate.
Our little ones have already eaten a bakery cookie and a fruit-laden cereal bar,
but they come to the table anyway and tell us how they would design their menus and present their dishes.
The littlest one asks to read “The Little Red Caboose” before nap time,
and as I near the end, he presses his cheek to mine, his strawberry breath forcing my mind toward spring.