New Poetry Video – God Among the Pots and Pans ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

God Among the Pots and Pans
(After St. Teresa of Avila)

Sifting flour for daily bread
white mist rises
dough multiplies before my eyes

Chopped carrots
form a broken string
of orange prayer beads

The sharp knife cuts through
any confusion
bone gleaming exposed

Sizzle of steak
onions and mushrooms
alchemy of steel and flame

My cup of coffee
is of course
always a revelation

And the glasses of wine
waiting on the table
a wonder of earth and time

Magpie caws outside
an apparition in black and white
among russet leaves

The sun descends slowly
in violet reverie recalling
the beauty of endings

The timer bell rings
calling me back again
to this prayer

To the miracles
of dinner and dishwater
and our long slow sighs.

-Christine Valters Paintner, Dreaming of Stones

Dearest monks and artists,

St. Teresa of Avila famously said that “God walks among the pots and pans” and St. Benedict writes in his Rule that the kitchen utensils are to be treated with as much care and reverence as the vessels of the altar.

One of the things I have missed most during this time of pandemic is inviting friends over for dinner. There is something magical that happens while preparing food with love and sitting down to leisurely conversation. This is as much an act of communion for me as the ritual meal we partake of in church. Jesus sat down at table with so many others. Of course, why wouldn’t this most fundamental act of nourishment become a place of holy encounter? There are miracles at work through the alchemy of cooking and eating.

I love savoring the meal together and after the food has been eaten, the wine has been drunk, and we shift to the comfort of the living room with our coffee and tea in hand. We feel the loveliness of time enough and spaciousness, of the joy of friendship.

I miss the games we would pull of the shelf to play together and the deep laughter that erupts in those spontaneous moments. Or the moments of more gravity when someone shares something that is weighing on their hearts. I miss hugs, lingering  and loving embodied expressions of care.

The poem above was written in pre-pandemic times and is also a prayer of hope for what is still to come. What are the things you have been missing the most? What do you cherish about cooking, eating, or gathering?

I am grateful to Morgan Creative here in Galway for creating this video for us.

With great and growing love,

Christine

PS – You can read a lovely review of my new book Sacred Time at the Englewood Review of Books

PPS – If you’ve been interested in joining us for Awakening the Creative Spirit October 31-November 5, 2021 in the Pacific Northwest, please note there is only one space left!

Video credit: Morgan Creative

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