This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Two poems about food and faith

Laurie Hesed grew up in Oregon and California and after 37 years of living in intentional community, makes her home caring for her mother in Newton, Kansas, and is a member of Shalom Mennonite Church. She has three funny, mature children and four fabulous grandchildren.

Poem 458

“You should plant some peas,”
the nearly four year old tells me.
“The pods are like sleeping bags
for the peas and you can eat those, too.”

She is, of course, repeating
the words of her parents,
but still it delights me,
that her parents are so witty
and involve her in gardening,
(such a revolutionary line of work),
but also that she picked it up from them,
and held it tight,
and that they (or one of them, anyway)
picked it up from me,
and nurtured it,
and again, that she wanted
to share the news,
this tiny, tasty morsel of wisdom,
with me, who might not realize
it’s time for planting peas.

Poem 497

I’ve been weeding the gooseberries,
green and plump and sour as citrus,
and I wonder why people pick them
at this stage, when if one waits
a few weeks, they turn a deep purple
and are sweet as sugar.

I mentioned this to some friends
who brought a fruit salad to potluck
and the bowl was filled with lovely tastes
and also many green gooseberries.

In their eighties, the woman
stared at me, then looked to her husband
and said, “She said they will ripen
and become sweet.”

They had never known this
and have been eating sour berries
all of their lives, pouring
sugar on them, to make them palatable.
Another woman said,
“I thought they were like rhubarb
and would never sweeten.”

How many other parts of our lives
are like this…we could wait,
if we only knew what lay ahead,
if we only trusted there is sweetness
in holding off and allowing life
to ripen.

For more original reflections on food and faith, check out the September issue of The Mennonite.

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