This is the time of year for putting all that garden produce into the freezer or the canning cupboard. Every August our kitchen used to be redolent with the smells of applesauce, jams and relishes. I remember the first years of our marriage when I was doing all that for my own family for the first time. By the end of the summer I would have row after row of sealed mason jars on the shelves, their colorful contents advertizing the goodness within. I took such pleasure in staring at all that evidence of my labor that I hated to spoil the effect by using them up. I discovered how incredibly fulfilling it could be to put something on the table that you have grown in your own garden or made from scratch. These days I only do a fraction of what I did then. The temptation to do things the easy way is pretty compelling.
My husband grew up on a farm where very nearly everything they ate was produced right there. I grew up where much of what the freezer contained was put there as a result of fishing or hunting or harvesting what grew in the garden or even wild. Our parents definitely felt a close connection between the work of their hands and provision for their families. Earlier generations would have felt it even more. Now we go off to work at a job that will bring home a paycheck to purchase the things we need to provide for our families. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that paychecks are deposited directly into banks so we never actually hold the results of our day’s labor in our hands. There are many degrees of separation between our jobs and the food on our tables. Much of what we set out came from the store pre-mixed, pre-washed, pre-chopped or even pre-peeled. Just add water and in a few short minutes the pancakes are on the table and ready to eat. I do take advantage of the easy to prepare products available today but I believe something gets lost in the convenience of it all. It is much harder to make the connection between the work we do and the food we eat. Consequently we miss out on some of the fulfillment that God designed us to feel in providing for our families. At least that’s true for me. I can’t turn the clock back and I don’t really want to but I can make a conscious decision to get back to basics from time to time. I have beans to pick and berries to freeze and perhaps I’ll take a moment to look at the jars of pepper relish in my cupboard before I finish my day.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value……She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls……” Proverbs 31:10, 11 and 15