Hope and Food

Have we lost the way of hope?

When I say “we”, I mean we “modern, affluent, developed, able, self-actualized” folk.  When I say “way”, I mean a real, rooted, dirt under the fingernails, not merely ethereal or the sort of stuff simply for a Sunday-School discussion.

Have we lost the way of hope?

We are getting ready for dinner like we do most every evening.  It is no later than 5pm and I just walked through the door.  Aimee is aptly juggling instructions to boys, straightening the dining room, cooking dinner and checking on the chickens which are still free-ranging.

She gathers the boys, giving each a soup bowl, “Go out into the garden and gather a bowl full of greens for dinner.”  Malachi runs to be first, Hudson’s heals kick-up unnecessarily behind him, and Tristan grunts trying to keep up.  They are back in less than ten minutes, mixed greens in hand.

Aimee has three more small bowls ready, “Now, four strawberries each for dessert.  Hudson, just picking, NO eating.”  She smiles at him playfully.  They rush off again.

My friend, Mary Carpenter recently reminded me of cherry season in Albania.  She reminded me of how we waited and waited for the cherries.  Out of season there was not a cherry to be found anywhere in the country but when the harvest came, every corner displayed round riots of red, sweet and perfect, probably picked that very morning.  The season only lasted a couple of weeks and when gone, our bellies were as round as the cherries.  Every year, I mistakenly believed that I could wait another year.  But, within a few weeks I found myself longing for the cherries.

How are we to understand long-term hope (not to mention eternal hope) when our society has effectively removed all the “natural” forms of hope from life.  When was the last time you had to wait for a cherry?  Or a glass of wine?  Or a tomato?

There is a reason why we eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  There is a reason why we roast chest-nuts at Christmas (at least someone seems to).  And there is a reason why my boys are eating strawberries for dessert in late spring.  Hope.  These are rhythms of hope.

The Almanac is a spiritual book.  It is about hope.  Buying fruits and vegetables in season is not just economically sensible, it is hope.  Shopping at the farmers market is not just ecologically just, it is hope.

I was a typical American kid.  I got ice cream every night for dessert.  I never had to wait for Saturday afternoon to go to the cinema.  And my diet was more or less the same in the summer, winter, spring or autumn.  And when a pastor talked about hope, I had no idea what it felt like.

Living in Albania in my twenties, I started to feel hope like I hadn’t before.  Sometimes it smelled like cherries.

I want my boys to know hope’s smell.  I want them to have things they long for, and when they finally taste those things, I want them to say, “YES, that is what we have been waiting for!”

Have we lost the way of hope?

I’m curious.  What other “conveniences” of your world have removed the natural rhythm of hope?

3 Responses to “Hope and Food”

  1. I hope for Deschutes Brewery’s seasonal ales (Red Chair…Mmmm).

  2. Yes, this perspective is so needed. My wife and I are also learning the meaning of “hope” with the growing seasons at our home. Only 4 more months until we have fresh eggs! I think it is natural to want to “preserve” the pleasure once we taste it. Yet settling into seasons of fasting and feasting, rain and drought, exercise and rest can leave us so much richer in our souls.

  3. Have you read Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”? You would definitely enjoy it. It is about her year-long stint attempting to eat only local and seasonal foods and the processes she went through to make it happen. She met a lot of neighbors that way too.

Leave a Reply