As my hands change with age, I think about the hands that raised me. With stoic, Swedish charm, my grandfather would pull a carrot from the ground, wipe the dirt carelessly on his hip, and give it to me to eat. Memory corrodes over time and I swear that carrot was as big as a zucchini. I’d climb up on his lap, gnaw on the carrot and watch the chickadees swoop in and out of the feeder he built in the backyard.
How we feed ourselves and others is a pleasing act of kindness and generosity. With little words and big action, my grandfather taught me that good things come from the ground. Watching the birds with grandpa showed me that tough, oil-stained hands found peace when listening to the birds in the air.
These truths remain with my 6-year-old self.
Grandpa fed the birds and deer and me. Grandpa dug in the dirt.
Grandpa’s hands fed things that eventually fed him.
This Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent. Many Christians were seen out in the grocery stores and hockey arenas with an ashen cross marking their foreheads. In this practice, humanity is reminded that we are dust, and to dust, we will return. We remember that what sustains us eventually sustains the next generation.
Over the next 40 days, lenten practice can realign our focus on the habits of justice. These justices are aimed towards yourself, your neighbor, and God. And are more commonly recognized as fasting, giving, and prayer.
Consider the following for spiritual practice this week as we focus on the idea of sustenance.
- What will I give up to provide sustenance for future generations?
- What have I given up to provide sustenance for future generations?
- What does this cost me?
- What gratitude arises in me when I think of what sustains me?
- Food was designed to nurture and sustain. It also brings pleasure and enjoyment. Around a table with family and friends, we nourish our bodies and souls with good food and generous conversation. What will you invite to your table this week? A guest? A family member? A new recipe? A generosity practice? Enjoy the creativity and thoughtfulness of the moment.