This year I’ve discovered a love of panna cotta. If it’s on a menu in a restaurant, I’m getting it, lemon or coffee or orange, delicate and wholesome at the same time. It’s so good, you would think it’s a hundred percent cream. (Oh, it is a hundred percent cream, you say? Pardon me while I block my ears.)
Such a simple, pure, delightful thing, panna cotta. I find I’m drawn more and more to what’s simple these days. I’m tired of complexity, process, and winding roads, and I long for a straight shot. Ah, but that’s not how life is, is it? We bend and twist and struggle and keep walking and forget and remember and it can be messy at times. I remember when my family life seemed simple, or maybe that’s just a trick of memory. We walked the same path together hand in hand, eating every meal, going to every softball or soccer or basketball game or school activity all together. We read the same books, had the same bedtime routine, walked the same after-dinner walk, played together in the yard, watched the same shows on tv. It was simple and rich, like panna cotta I guess.
Today, our roads are more complex, and they’re going in all kinds of directions at once. Some parts are hilly and some are level, some stretches are sunny and others feel more like forest. It depends on the day and the person, really. When my children’s paths diverged from mine a while back, I could still see where theirs were leading, but now I can’t, not always. And I can’t steer them, and it’s sometimes the hardest thing for me to just stay on my path instead of racing toward theirs, but it’s not where I belong and we both know it.
There’s a lot of noise in my mind and spirit and where I can choose simplicity, I do. I listen to rain, I breathe deeply, and I read life-giving words. The faces of the people I love aren’t always in my orbit these days, so I’m finding I look at them a beat longer than I used to. And I pray. And look at the sky. I cut up lemons and smell deeply, or wash my floors and clear counters and light a candle that smells of lime and vanilla. I notice tiny things and sit in the sun. I practice trust like it’s exercise. And one of these days, I’ll learn to make panna cotta at home and see under my own roof a pure gift of God transformed by heat and time into something so heavenly that it will seem like a miracle and I’ll savor every bit. Everything gels together eventually.
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