For the most part, I would say that I've got my priorities straight. I love my family, my husband, God, my country-- you know, all the important things. I'm not money or power-driven, and I don't feel like I am overly materialistic. However, there is one area of my life (well, at least one area of my life), one silly little frivolous area that adds nothing to the greater good of the world, and yet brings me infinite joy. And that, my friends, is food.
Now, I'm not talking about any kind of food, or food in bulk, or even one specific type of food. I just mean, beautiful, quality, delicious food. I hate fast food & mass-produced food, and feel that donuts are a waste-- but put me in front of a perfect tomato, or a bite of expensive dark chocolate, and I am in heaven. It's quite a thing to behold.
I had a spiritual moment today at the Farmer's Market.
There was a vendor with rows and rows of green, yellow, red, and even blue-black bell peppers, and lined up together, they looked like artwork. I thought to myself that God could have made eating similar to breathing-- simply a way to bring nutrients in & out of our bodies, but without much sensation to the experience. I thought of cattle, deer, or elephants that eat grass their entire lives, without ever knowing the difference. But, no-- for us, He made it an experience, and utter delight, a thing of beauty.
It occurred to me that God created food not only to taste delicious (in an infinite possibility of combinations), but also to look beautiful, as those bell peppers did. And as I stood in the heat of an unusually warm San Francisco morning, feeling the sun on my face and the sweat on my back, I looked around at the throngs of people at the Ferry Building, sampling fruit, picking out flowers, sipping juice, I felt joy-- praise, even.
I know, I'm insane. Well, actually, it doesn't take much to have a spiritual experience at the Ferry Building-- it's practically the Mecca of all good food. But as someone who studied art, I know that good art should be a spiritual experience-- and, when you think about it, food is the best kind of art because you can experience it with each of your senses, literally internalize it, and even re-create it.
I know that there is pain, suffering, war & injustice in the world-- I have seen a lot of it first hand. And I know that I sound a little crazy (No I'm not drunk, and No, I haven't seen Julie & Julia yet), but I really do believe that the beauty, variety, and goodness of food points to a creative, good, and generous God.
And if you had tried the heirloom tomato with rosemary sea salt that I sampled this morning, you would be full of praise, and sounding a little bit insane, too.