Written Sept or Oct 2011, (finally got it edited), but this autumnal story still feels relevant.
Trusting in the Divine during the harsh economic realities of present-day America is challenging, to say the least. I know—intellectually—I am being taken care of by the Great Good. But living accordingly at any given moment is a whole other matter. I fail at it constantly, ending up in self-obsessed worried knots.
Sometimes I fail because I wrongly think surrender to the Divine always results in material success or ecstatically serene epiphanies. Heh, at times, trusting means practicing one’s spiritual tools despite all evidence that there is any reason to do so.
But sometimes, I do act in trust. Here is a victory of this past week:
Back-story: Winter can exacerbate multiple sclerosis. I’ve been dreading winter, because I won’t get the sunshine that helps my eyesight and general health. (People with MS can go blind; being out in the sun makes a difference in how well my eyes work.)
More back-story: I’m housebound with my illness. People do my grocery shopping for me. By and large, I don’t choose the vegetables and fruits they buy, because I’m not in the store to see what’s available and in good shape. End of back-story.
So, my friend John walked in with my groceries. Unloading them, he pulled out four lemons and proudly declared, “I brought you more lemons.” My initial (and typically-negative-of-me) reaction was the thought, “What am I going to do with four—four! —lemons? Sure, I asked him to get lemons the past couple of trips, but that was because I was sick with flu.”
My complaint is ridiculous when others go hungry. I will use any opportunity—even a blessing like all those nice lemons—as an excuse to forgo trusting the Divine. But I was immediately blessed with a second reaction: “Hey, I’m going to trust that Divinity had a reason John bought so many lemons.”
Funny thing is, when I feel that way about whatever fruit and vegetables I’m brought, I end up with the best possible culinary experiences.
My caretakers work hard to make good shopping choices for me; they succeed at it, but negative-minded moi does not always remember that. At least not when they’re unpacking the groceries.
John has God within. Divinity works through John’s fine intelligence, great intuition, and immense wisdom, to make good shopping choices for me.
Trusting this put me in a frame of mind that allowed me to create a lemon recipe. I call it Francesca’s Liquid Sunshine, and it is an Autumn drink to store up sunlight for the winter ahead. Oh my, when I can trust, the rewards are often yummy!
Measurements are rough:
* 2/3 container frozen white grape juice concentrate
* Dilute with water to make very sweet beverage.
* Add one and a half fresh lemons, skin and all, cut up.
* Add fresh ginger, about 3/4″ long by 2/3″ cut into 4 pieces. Do not grate.
* Bring to boil, lower heat, simmer until a yummy gold taste.
My guests and I loved this sunny beverage, at a time when we were watching the season turn toward our local long cold dark winter. And I was able to store up sunlight for the winter ahead because I had a moment of trust in Divinity and in John having Divinity within.
BTW, next summer, I hope to try the following chilled variation, and see whether it tastes good: Cook it without the added water, or add minimal amount. Then cool, then refrigerate til cold. Right before serving, dilute with cold bubbly water. If you try either version, let me know what you think.
The above is what I call a “self-help recipe”—ideas about improving life coupled with culinary tips. If you enjoyed it, there are a few self-help recipes in my new book Share My Insanity.
In a week, I’ll post what happened next to me re the MS, sunshine, and spirituality, but I have to edit that writing first.
When life gives you lemons, drink sunshine.