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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Well Seasoned

It must have been midnight by the time I finally came to. The moon was big and perfectly round. I had never paid much attention when the moon was full before. Well, maybe I would from now on. I couldn’t believe that I had fallen out of a moving car so quickly! I couldn’t even remember how it happened. Was my seat belt not buckled? No matter. I was stuck in the snow on Colorado’s I-25, just now realizing how cold I was. Thank goodness my coat was on before the fall. I tried to roll over and zip it up. To my bewilderment, I was “working.” My arms and legs felt fine. It was as if I had never fallen at all! In fact, maybe I hadn’t.

Suddenly, I heard hooves on the soft ground behind me. I turned around and looked up, to be greeted strangely by an odd looking dwarf. “Mr. Tumnus?” I asked in utter shock. “Why, yes, that’s me! How in the world did you know my name?” Before I could answer, we were skipping along the path to his house. There was no highway anymore. I made a mental note to take a break from C.S. Lewis books with the grand-kids. Something was definitely not right, here. But despite the bizarre circumstances, I was enjoying myself too much to try to figure out exactly what was going wrong. From my earliest years, I had wanted to be Lucy Pevensie, crossing over into the most magical of worlds through a closet. And here I was! In Narnia! There was snow everywhere, fir trees, and we were on our way to what I had always pictured in my mind as the coziest of cottages: complete with fire in the hearth, tea, something deliciously sweet, music, and a friend, too – be he imaginary. I skipped along the path. Abruptly, I found myself in a very comfortable chair, the smell of something like honey filling my olfactory senses. But Mr. Tumnus was someone else now. Who was he? He was a very good person. He was the Hero of the books—the Jesus-like lion, Aslan. No, it wasn’t Aslan. He wasn’t a lion at all. He was Jesus, Himself. But He felt like a father too. And we were talking. And presently, He wasn’t preparing tea. Instead, the wonderful aroma of vegetable beef stew came wafting across the room. It smelled like my own grandmother’s stew from long ago—another life time it seemed: before grand-kids, before my own children, and before my adult years. The Father figure was talking to me about my life. He reminded me about how I used to not like my feet, and wear shoes that were too small. He said that he knew every single time that I had felt insecure as a teenager. He even reminded me of when my own mother had suffered at the hands of lymphoma, and I thought that she was going to die. I had had to grow up then, and help take care of my family. I practically raised my two youngest siblings. The man recounted these things to me in perfect detail. As he spoke, He added spices to the soup. With each of my life events that he retold, He would add another spice: sage, rosemary, parsley, and others that I was completely unfamiliar with. But with each spice, the smell grew more wonderful. I was a little concerned that He was adding too much, but He assured me that each spice made the soup better. He explained that this was a special kind of soup; that no matter how much good seasoning was added, the taste would improve. The possible improvements were infinite. I was so intrigued by this concept that I was unable to listen for the next little while. There was not a single recipe that I could think of that worked that way. Eventually, adding more of something would ruin the dish.

The Man continued recounting snippets of my life… the difficult break up in college, my marriage with my best friend, the painful birth of my first child, the indescribable joy of raising children, trouble with co-workers, friends, or bosses, pleasure trips, worry over my children’s health, their boyfriends or girlfriends, etc...

He finally served me a bowl of His brew. It was nothing like anything that I had ever tasted before. I wanted to go on eating it forever, and yet at the last spoonful, I felt satisfied. He explained that my life was like His soup. Every experience was a lesson. Whenever an event impacted me, and I learned something from it, His hand was seasoning me. He was adding another spice. “And so you see,” He continued, “in a way, your life is just beginning. Every milestone is a chance to be more ‘seasoned,’ more useful for my kingdom. You are much “tastier” now than you were at the age of 23. A simple broth is OK, but the soup is more edible, and more delicious with my special touch. In the same way, I can use You the more you grow and mature in Me. “

I loved the thought. I wanted to write it down so that I wouldn’t forget it. It made me feel like my life was just getting started. I wondered what new adventures would rise before me when I got home. Home?! I had to get home. I clearly wasn’t Lucy anymore. I was back to my normal self: Sixty years old, but I felt like I was twenty! The soup had made me feel young again. It was amazing. Nevertheless, I knew that my family would start to worry if I stayed away much longer. I rose to leave. The Man was not there anymore, but His Presence still was, somehow. I didn’t recognize who was escorting me to the door. I didn’t even know if it was a He or a She. Whatever it was, it was shining so brightly. I tried to shield my eyes and follow at the same time. As we approached the exit, the light began to fade, and I was being pulled along by my leader through the open door. It was Spring outside, now. The grass felt so soft, that I decided to lay down in it. As soon as I did, however, my escort, who was still with me for some reason, would tug at my hand and call out my name. The name was not my given name, but it sounded so familiar, that I knew he was calling to me. I tried to continue, but I could not. Even though I felt happy and young, I also felt very tired. The voice called again “Mimomo! Mimomo!” It said, over and over again.

I opened my eyes. Two of my grandsons were hovering over me with worried faces. “Mimomo! Wake up! The movie is over!”

I smiled. Jon David and Luke were sitting on either side of me in the love seat in my family room. We had been watching “Narnia” together again. After finishing the book the day before, they had begged to watch it. As I often do during mid-afternoon down time, I must have fallen asleep. I drew them close to me, one in each arm. I knew that it was no coincidence that I had dreamed about new adventures starting. Six grandchildren is enough for about a hundred adventures! Not to mention adult children, spouses, and most of all, my husband. I could not wait to see which ingredient God would add next. He had given me such a unique gift. I felt like I had a new life, and it was starting today, right now, at 3:00 P.M.!

So many good thoughts and memories flooded my mind. It felt like the more I lived, the more life was given to me, instead of the other way around.

I got up and went into the kitchen to fix the boys a snack. I noticed Buddy stirring a pot over the stove. “Oh, what’s for dinner?” I asked in surprise. “Vegetable beef stew,” he said.

I smiled.

Dedicated to Mom: Happy birthday!!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful story Anna! Your mom had told several of us ladies at church about what a wonderful story you had written for her birthday. Thanks for sharing! You are such a talented writer :)



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