Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bowling with God

One of the things that I brought home from storage last week is a gigantic wooden bowl that is about 2 feet across. It is hand hewn from one large piece of wood, and is at least 100 years old. It is made from some sort of dark hardwood. When I was a kid, we used it as a salad bowl for neighborhood picnics.

I grew up on a dirt road that was like the United Nations. My family's roots were in Poland. Behind us was the home of the Alvarez family -- she was from Spain, and her husband from Chile. Across from them was another Polish family, next to them a Yankee family. Next to us was a family where the wife had been a WWII war bride from outside of Paris. Across from them was a family of refugees from Hungary who had escaped during the 1955 uprising. Across from them was a family who had immigrated from Germany. Across from them, a family with Italian roots, next to a family with Irish heritage, next to another New England Yankee family, next to a couple we referred to as "the batchelors" in those days who were from French and Austrian backgrounds. My Mom had the idea that in the summers we could get together for a monthly potluck picnic and all get to know eachother.

So there we were, my Dad manning the grill and neighbors bringing folding chairs, folding tables, and what they specialized in making -- pots of pasta or exotic pasteries or sauerkraut and pork or fresh vegetables -- and to serve this crew salad, we had this fabulous old big wooden bowl. Salad for 50 was a snap.

It was the diversity salad bowl, in the same way my street was the diversity street. Life just seemed so much more interesting because people were different. Otherwise it was like a salad made just of lettuce.

Come Halloween, the big bowl would be brim-full of candy for costumed kids. At other moments it would store apples and squash or onions. The bowl held whatever we needed it to hold, and there was always room for more.

Here is where this is going -- here is why I have the bowl -- to remind me that the bowl is my heart and it is your heart. It holds and serves - stores and dispenses. This bowl is held in God's arms, God who makes sure it is never empty --go ahead -- try to empty your heart by loving too much. It cannot happen. There is always more. Go on, love as hard as you can -- I dare you -- see if you can stop -- see if you even want to. Love randomly. Pick a tree. Love it for a few minutes. Go ahead. Try. It just feels so good to be loving, to love freely, without condition, without expectation of return, without attachment to results. Don't be afraid. Trust God to let the love in; trust yourself to let the love loose. Just be the bowl and pour forth. Trust God to fill.

You know, of course, this is one way to help heal the world. You know, of course, that even if I do not know you, I wish you great love.


Anonymous Pat Z. said...

Hi Mata, You speak my heart! I grew up on a dirt road too that later was paved, but we also had many different kinds of people there. It was Oregon, we were from Pennsylvania, one family was from North Carolina, another from somewhere in Canada, a man and his dog from Italy, a couple from the West Indies, she was black and he was white, and a little brown lady who sold eggs. Lots of other assorted folks and everyone got along nicely.
I like your saying about the salad and that is so true about diversity. God asks us to love one another, the least we can do is try to live in peace.

6:51 PM  
Blogger samtzmom said...

Love to you as well friend. I love the analogy of the salad bowl... nothing too big to fit... endless amounts of whatever, ready to be dispensed. Oh, if only love could be shared in that way all the time...

6:33 AM  

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