Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:17 NIV
I am tickled with the irony of vegetables and love in the same sentence, since there was a time when I was far from loving vegetables. George Bush broccoli banter aside, for as many vegans, vegetarians, and vegetable lovers among us, I imagine there are an equal number of people who agree that it would take a lot of love to make up for a small dinner of vegetables!
Love makes up for practically anything 1 Peter 4:8 The Message
Yet seeing love and vegetables on the same side of this Scripture leads me to ponder what they have in common: Time, cultivating, hard work, nourishing goodness. In the garden this morning watering and weeding, I feel excited for my little radishes to grow and come to table, at the same time laughing that it took me 47 years to try my first radish. Sweets are my favorite—why eat veggies when luscious fruit, or chocolate cake for that matter, is at hand; or a choice steak, as the proverb declares.
For those of us who now have “more to love,” and have been advised a healthy diet of more vegetables, take heart. Over time we can become more accepting of the bitter tastes and whiff of ground that some vegetables retain, discovering the herbs, seasoning, and roasting that will kindle a craving for their goodness. Growing our own will enhance this process, as evidenced in students who kept school yard gardens:
The kitchen director looked on, shaking his head at the obscenely large quantities of fresh vegetables heaped in bowls to be served to these high school students. “They’ll never eat all that salad, nor the greens,” he predicted. The kids emptied every bowl. It wasn’t hard to figure out why. They had planted, hoed, and harvested the ingredients for this meal with their own hands…the garden puts it all into context.
—Michael Ableman, On Good Land, 1998
Not only do homegrown vegetables taste better, but watching over them as they grow will make our hearts adventurous to embrace their biting flavors and rougher textures. The day will come when we will be glad to fill our plates with vegetables—better yet to eat them right in the garden!
I sense a pattern to loving each other in the story of becoming a vegetable lover. My willingness to absorb bitter attitudes, to bear with my loved ones as life tumbles us to the ground, to accept each other’s roughage, reflects God’s love growing in me. The Southerners know when it comes to leafy, green vegetables, cooking them long enough reveals a rich, satisfying flavor like no other! God’s love is like that, fully satisfying and increasing in us over time, even as the heat of hard work increases.
Because your love is better than life…I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods Psalm 63:3,5 NIV
How can God’s Word advise a meager meal of vegetables with love? Because God’s love is better than life!
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14 NIV
©2014 Shelley S. Cramm Young radishes from a garden morning.
©2014 Shelley S. Cramm Journal sketch of vegetables & love.