I spent most of my life living/believing whole heartedly that everything existed in black and white. I don’t mean like at the beginning of The Wizard of Oz before Dorothy begins to see all of the color and depth that the world has to offer.
Actually, maybe that’s the perfect metaphor for what I want to share here today.
As I was saying, I lived most of my life believing that everything was black and white. I functioned on the hard line and had very little concept of balance or grace. My “standards” were unflinchingly rigid and I knew no other way.
Let’s fast forward to my mid-late twenties and the journey of my spiritual deconstruction. In the midst of un-learning everything I’d been taught for most of my life, I began to notice the color and depth of the world, much like Dorothy in that iconic scene. I learned the most liberating, wonderful word; and.
This word, and, taught me about grace. It taught me about flexibility and forgiveness, mostly for myself! And thankfully for the people in my life, especially the ones who knew me when I existed in that bleak black and white universe. This word brought so much freedom to my soul. It helped me discover all of these unique facets to my own self that I’d never realized before.
I can equally treasure both songs La Vie En Rose by Édith Piaf and Business Time by Flight of the Conchords.
I can consider both Casablanca and Forgetting Sarah Marshall to be two of my favorite movies.
I can practice yoga every damn day and eat cheeseburgers and drink craft beer.
You see? Both. And.
The world is not all or nothing and neither am I, as an individual. But this freedom didn’t stop at my personality traits as I was learning this beautiful thing called balance.
And showed me so much more. More about people, about love, about God, about the whole world.
As someone who still has to occasionally shake off the guilt that living in a black and white world can cause, I understand the struggle to live in balance. I understand the feeling that we have to be 100% passionate about only huge, serious issues in our world and leave behind what’s “frivolous”. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Love offers us so much more freedom than we’d let ourselves believe. We get to live with and! A few examples:
I can be equally as excited about helping end the world water crisis and watching the season premiere of How to Get Away with Murder.
I can spend my day marching with the LGBTQ community and spend my evening shopping like a mad woman for a new flat iron.
I can write to my Representatives about gun control and immigration policies and scour the internet trying to figure out how Joy Williams got such great abs.
I can write a blog post about God and include a delicious pumpkin soup recipe.
You see again?
Now onto probably the greatest and simplest revelation that this word brought into my heart, laying waste to every restrictive belief I’d carried around for so long; God.
God is male and female.
God is mighty and gentle.
God is spirit and human.
Do you know what and taught me about God?
God is simple, uncomplicated. There are no pre-requisites for Divine Love. No requirements, no duties, no performances, no political affiliations, no lifestyle choices necessary to be in Divine Love. It’s wide open and sees nothing but our fragile hearts. It embraces us with no second thoughts or hesitation. Divine Love isn’t all or nothing. It’s just all.
Isn’t this such a relief? We don’t have to be all or nothing! The world doesn’t function (at least not well) in black and white, lacking in grace and forgiveness! No, the world thrives in love and color and depth and redemption. This is such good news.
So I’d urge you to allow yourself to drown in grace, and once you’ve filled your own being with it, let it overflow to every single person you come in contact with. You’d be amazed at how much more good we can do when we learn and.
Now for a delicious pumpkin soup recipe.
*A Note: This recipe is totally thrown together haphazardly. Most of the measurements are in “ish”. Feel free to make any changes you like that sound good when you make the soup yourself! I hope you enjoy!
Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup:
- two acorn squash
- two sugar pumpkins
- two red bell peppers
- 1 T. (ish) minced garlic
- one red onion
- 1/2 (ish) package of bacon, cooked
- 1/2 c. (ish) heavy cream
- shaved parmesan cheese
- chopped green onions
- 1 c. (ish) chicken stock
- salt and pepper
- Cut the pumpkins and squash into smallish pieces, remove seeds and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. I like to spray the baking sheets AND the gourds with olive oil spray before roasting. Once finished, let them cool until you can handle them without burning yourself.
- Roast the bell peppers, onion, and minced garlic in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.
- Once cooled, scrape the pumpkin and squash from their skins and place in a large blender. Add the chicken stock and the heavy cream and blend.
- Next, add the bell pepper, onion and minced garlic to the blender. Blend with the pumpkin mix until smooth and creamy. Add more chicken stock and/or heavy cream as/if needed.
- Add the cooked bacon and blend until creamy. Sometimes I like to add a tiny bit of the bacon grease to the mix. Mmm.
- Now is when I pour the soup mixture into a large pot and let it simmer a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add some other fun herbs and spices to mix things up. I bet thyme and/or nutmeg would be so yummy in this soup!
- Once the soup is thoroughly mixed and heated, serve and top with chopped green onions, parmesan cheese and even some crumbled bacon! I like to serve this dish with garlic butter and parmesan sourdough toast. It’s absolutely perfect for a chilly fall evening! Enjoy!