What You Are in Love With…

I found this amazing bumper sticker at Penzeys Spices while in Portland in June and had a bit of a squealing moment with my friend, Elena.  It became my favorite souvenir from the trip and it was FREE!  I think I was extra excited because it just sums up so much of what matters to me.  Loving people, good food and hospitality.

This week, as the summer winds down and fall creeps in (although the WEATHER here wouldn’t suggest that~~this Washington girl is ready for a little cold and rain!), I am trying to get my hands on as many simple, yummy, flavorful treats as possible.  Heirloom tomatoes, nectarines, basil…yum!

The colors, rich flavors, and simplicity makes my heart beat a little faster with glee.  My natural tendency is to want to plan, create and execute fun meals.  I love having people over, opening our home, having a leisurely meal outside with great conversation.  Not too many things that rate higher than that for me!

Enter —  stage of life of the boys…..

And yes.  Well.  Ummmm.  Hospitality.  Cooking.  Meals.  Conversations?  They just all look quite different these days from the “ideal”.

Matt graciously put child locks on all the cabinets in the kitchen this week….hallelujah!  But the corner, swivel cabinet still needs a remedy.  Alex attempted to make my cooking experiences simpler by installing his own childproofing—-masking tape.

Accepting that, though, and still looking for ways to step up and into hospitality, despite the insanity, is important to me.  I have no need to shield the world from our day-to-day lives—-the constant chatter and creations and movement.  Meals have to get a bit more basic and simplistic; timing often revolves around naps and bedtimes and baths; and conversations are often interrupted {despite working on “Excuse Me” social norms}.  But, love can still flow through those places, conversations and meals.  Hospitality can still be extended.  We can still say “yes” to God, opening ourselves up to be present and pouring out, even in the moments of red-faced embarrassment, sweaty brows from chasing a newly-mobile infant, and exhaustion.  I’m starting to see that even in these times of being at my wit’s end, times that even make extroverted me, an introvert, crave alone time, that God will give me what I need to pour out to others.  And most of the time, in those moments of communion and community, I find myself filled up ten-fold.

Prior to working at Westminster Woods, back in 2008, we were given this quote to pray with and sit with during the interview process…

Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.

~Pedro Arrupe

It will always be a touchstone piece of writing for me.  A reminder about what really matters.  That falling in love with God first and foremost, knowing what makes me tick/what my gifts are, and then handing that back to God and serving and being/embodying that love is what it’s all about.  Do I live that way?  Not so much.  There’s a lot of growling under my breath, threatening crackers and water for dinner due to my exhaustion, and frustrations with thrown food and messy, rice-cereal covered floors.  Deep down, though, I know what makes my heart beat, and the ways I most naturally feel joy in the midst of service.  So, here’s to claiming that, our places of deepest love and joy, even in the chaos.  And frankly, the gift of mild, autumn nights, dusk skies, a glass of wine and conversation as the moon rises isn’t too shabby either.

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