Saturday, my dad was here working on an unexpected house project, my friend Joy was coming over to have lunch, and I was trying to figure out what to cook. I really needed to go to the store, but in a last-ditch effort at frugality, I decided to try to make something from what I already had. I told my dad and Joy that the meal was called “Food’s-expensive-and-we’re-eating-what-we-have.”
In the end, I boiled some eggs and made a creamy egg salad to serve over some Spring greens. I also toasted some bread and served it with hummus and tabouli. Added to that a diced canteloupe, and we all enjoyed a surprisingly delicious and healthy meal out of what had at first seemed like nothing. (Since I still have not made it to the grocery store, we’ll see what creative dish springs up for tonight’s dinner!)
I have been thinking a lot about this style of cooking and eating since Saturday. First, I was thankful that both of my guests are easy to please. Imagine trying to feed a picky eater with what’s in the fridge. Also, I am glad that I tend to buy healthy, fresh ingredients in the first place. If I bought only junk food, no amount of creativity could have turned the food into a healthy meal. Lastly, I am realizing that without a little adversity — higher food prices, a lack of time and energy for shopping — there would be no reason to stretch my imagination and avoid waste.
As you might expect, lessons from a simple lunch have leap-frogged right into lessons about my life. Lessons I need to learn right now. While I am still having some anxiety about my cancer (my CA-125 went up a little on my last blood draw. Since it’s still within the normal range, my doctor is just going to wait until the next draw to see if it might be the start of a recurrence or just a natural fluctation) and continuing to experiencing the ups and downs of the physical recovery of surgery and chemo, it’s easy for me to wish I had a fresh set of circumstances. Much like I would have rather have had some fresher more exotic ingredients for lunch on Saturday.
But as much as I would rather be cancer-free with the promise of a long life, Jesus is asking me to use my creativity and faith to make something special out of what I have. He’s not looking for anything extravagant (just like my easy-to-please lunch guests). He just doesn’t want me to waste what I’ve got. And thankfully, over the years I’ve implemented good, healthy habits in my faith, like prayer, solitude, and Bible meditation, that can serve me well now in a pinch, just like the healthy ingredients in my fridge.
But most importantly, without the adversity of this season in my life, there would be no reason to dig down deep. No need to use whatever I have to grow in Jesus. I could just rely on my health or continue to presume that all my plans will be accomplished. Facing this daunting battle of my mind and body really has pushed my faith in Jesus to places I never imagined going. And just as he promised, Jesus is meeting me there, helping me “prepare lunch.”