Love and Potatoes

This evening I started making potato salad. Since this is for a Young Adult Quaker potluck on Labor Day weekend, I thought it would be clever to procure the eggs and potatoes from Young Adult Quakers. So I went out to Secret Spring Farm and did a little shopping.

I took some time to meditate today, as I do when I’m being good, and I emerged from the silence to work on the potatoes and eggs, trying to keep centered as I washed and cut and boiled and mashed. Perhaps that is why a thought came to me, as I rinsed an egg: this is life.

To one degree it was because an egg is such a potent symbol of potential. But a second aspect followed quickly after: this is real food. I was there when Felix pulled the potatoes out of the ground and handed them up to me. It’s food that he feeds to his own daughter. I know it’s clean and safe and rich and tasty. Then a third facet came into the light: this is a great example of the Economy of Love.

So, here’s a quick explanation of what that economy looks like, at least for me:

It looks like coming home from my part-time job (part-time so that I can keep body and soul together while spending most of my time on other, better things) to cook with food my farmer friends have grown right up from the seed, for which I paid a fair price. It means reusing the water from boiling the eggs to then boil the potatoes. It means frying up the potato peelings so that as little as possible is wasted. It means taking the food I’ve made to a potluck and sharing it with all the Young Adult Friends who attend, including the farmers in question, as all the other Young Adult Friends in turn feed me. It means praying over boiling eggs and laughing with my friends and building community one potluck at a time. And it means looking for the voice of God and the total interconnection of God’s creation in the smallest, most mundane moments.

I don’t mean to make too much of this. It’s a small thing, and not for everyone, and farm life isn’t the answer to all things… but to care for each other in this way, I think, is the soul and center of the economy of love. Find your own examples and make your own way.

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Blogger’s Note: things have been quiet around here — the summer has kept me quite busy. Look for more activity in coming weeks, however. A lot has happened since last we spoke, my friends!

Good News

I hear a lot of bad news lately. Sometimes it’s just the quality of the reporting, of course, but usually it’s the content. I see reactionism rising, neglect from those in power, and the ostensible good guys either trip over their own feet or lose sight of their original aims. Poverty’s spreading. I’ve been hearing of suicide, of abuse. My friends are struggling with unemployment and illness. There’s a lot of pain in my world right now: my people’s, my friends’, my own.

I can bear my own, with time, but it’s seeing others suffer that grieves me so much, so I can’t sit by any more. What can I do?

To stare down pain, a poet will write verses and a singer will write songs; a storyteller, when he sees his loved ones hurting, will tell tales to raise the soul. He’ll sing of a victory.

Now, I could tell you about long-ago successes–it’s kind of my forte–but I think I should tell you all a new story. It’s a story about me, but not just about me; it’s my triumph, but not just mine. And it’s not news to some, but not common knowledge, so: time to speak up. Continue reading