I got all teary over salad this week.
I made our summer salad. (recipe back here) During the summer we had this salad at least 4 times a week. Sometimes as a main dish with some chicken mixed in. And then when late fall hit I ran out of pesto and the salad sort of fell off the radar. Until this past Wednesday night.
It was a busy weeknight and I pulled together some pasta with meat sauce for dinner. As I was thinking about what kind of salad to throw into the mix I remembered that sometime in late August I had put aside some pesto that I had made from the crazy amounts of basil that grew in our garden last year. I put in in the freezer thinking that it would taste nice in the middle of the winter.
I had no idea then what a brilliant idea that was. How incredible it would be to taste summer in the DEAD of THIS winter.
The kids were all pretty excited when they heard we were having summer salad (funny, they never raved over it before). Midway through dinner I told them that this wasn’t just any old summer salad. I told them that the basil in the pesto grew out of the ground in our back yard. We looked out of the window and tried to remember that under all that snow and ice there is earth, and that earth has the power to grow things. Green things, things full of flavor and color and life. Snow will melt, the sun still works, the sky will bring warmth, the ground will unfreeze, the strawberries and raspberries and cilantro and mint is still alive under there and will grow back. The earth will carry the seedlings we will plant, the sun will coax them through the ground. The birds will come back, the trees will put on their brilliant green and before we know it we’ll be popping little yellow tomatoes in our mouths as we ride our bikes in the back yard.
My kids sat memorized by my words, probably mostly because I was tearing up (that always gets them to pay close attention) but also because they could feel the truth and reality of what I was saying. And with every bite of that salad, that summer salad, we remembered the abundance this world does bear every single year. Our faith in spring was renewed, we were all lit up with hope.
We discussed how perfect it is to celebrate Christ’s resurrection in the spring. How the whole world testifies that dead things do come alive again.
I think this year (with over 100 inches of snow) we will have a new appreciation for life in the natural world. We’re trying our best to find beauty in all this snow, but maybe the real beauty is in the contrast that it will give our lives. As I go about my life and observe those around me and listen to the radio (grumpy people everywhere) I’m pretty sure this Boston winter is carving out a deep yucky hole in most of us right now (still more snow in the forecast!). But I’m also pretty sure that the glory of spring will fill that hole, to it’s depth, with exquisite wonder and delight. We will cherish those buds and daffodils and little green shoots more keenly than we have ever before, for our vessels have been dug deep. We have more capacity.
So it is with life. Sorrow, discomfort, sadness, pain, trials--they all build our capacity to feel joy, comfort, happiness, triumph.
This is the beauty of God’s plan for us. He will give us beauty for ashes. He will make the ugly things beautiful. When we trust Him then our sorrow and trials will root us deep and give us more holding power for joy.
Dead things will come alive again.
Hope is a glorious thing.
At dinner Hazel decided that every August we should all make pesto together to freeze for the dead of winter. We could all sense that that pesto taught us what Hope tastes like. And it tastes really good.