The title of the post that hit my email box was "I Have Cancer"....from someone I've never met in person, but who inhabits one of my email lists. I sent off a private note while other people sent on-list notes of encouragement, some mentioning their own recovery experiences. One that particularly caught my attention was from John Weber. He was responding to the poster's grieving that she'd not be able to garden while in the grip of fighting this cancer. A cancer survivor himself who was originally given three weeks to live, he encouraged her to not abandon the things that feed her life:
"For me, hope is not words, although the kind ones and the prayers are welcome. Hope is not statistics. Hope is doing. It is doing the things you have to, for me like splitting wood. And it is doing the things that arise in you and really are doing you. First, for me it was talking to kids all around Minnesota about not smoking. Now it is putting in an organic orchard for future food for people. This isn't heroics; it is living."
Hope is doing....
As we're on the road to healing and recovery, I think about where we've come and the hope that led us all this way. John is right. Hope is an active verb, not a passive one. It isn't sitting with fingers crossed, waiting for the possibility of a good outcome. Hope rolls up its sleeves and gets down to the job at hand; not paralyzed or disengaged, but busy about the tasks of life, believing the answer will come with time. Even when one is waiting, the waiting isn't slumped in resignation....it is the selah in the song, the expectant pause, the counting the beats to join the dance again.
It is, indeed, doing "the things that arise in you." In the middle of all of this, as hard as it was and sometimes still is, I never ever seriously considered doing anything else. I looked at other options and other suggestions. I even pondered for a moment or two whether or not what I was doing was all a waste of time and why didn't I just do what everyone else is doing.
Except I couldn't. I just couldn't. Hope is following that rock-solid core of conviction and drive that leads to whatever lies ahead, in spite of the current situation and surroundings. Following with expectation. It's a plan of doing things that look forward to the finish line and beyond. Living as if there is more beyond this present struggle.
There's hope and expectation in the small daily tasks, keeping life organized and on track. In the thinking, in the planning, the creating, the researching and the searching. There's hope and expectation in every bite and swallow of a healing food. There's hope and expectation in every cooking experiment that ends up feeding the compost pile that turns around and feed our garden....I've gained a lot of comfort from remembering this cycle. There's hope and expectation in every food trial; hope that this time will herald another step forward in healing and the boundaries of our life will expand by another measure, by one more food.
Sprouts are one of the easiest things to grow. Just a little attention a couple of times a day for a few days and they're ready. In a mason jar with Sprout-Ease Lids or mesh screening, place two tablespoons of clover sprouting seeds with half a jar of water. Let soak overnight and drain. Rinse and drain. Leave inverted, at a slight tilt, to allow for thorough drainage and to avoid molding. Repeat the rinsing and draining a few times each day. As the sprouts grow in size, the lid can be exchanged for the next larger size meshing to allow for easier drainage. Sprouts are usually finished in 2-3 days.
The final rinse and dehulling is probably the most intensive part of sprouting. Place sprouts in a large bowl and fill with cold water from the tap. Plunge a hand into the water and sprouts and shake vigorously. The hulls will float to the surface and the unsproutable seeds will sink to the bottom. Separate the sprouts from the hulls and seeds, rinse and drain thoroughly.
Sprouts will keep in the refrigerator 1-2 weeks.
This is what I ate during the grain-free years, when I was the only one who could eat bread and it wasn't worth the effort to bake it just for me. The irony of this is that now that grain is back on the menu and I've got this fantabulous sourdough bread, I'm the only one who can't tolerate it. I--who never had a digestive reaction to anything--suddenly can't, for some reason, tolerate this bread. So I shrug and go back to my egg salad and sprouts on rice cakes. My mother calls them styrofoam saucers. Yeah, the nutritional level is about equal to styrofoam, but it gets the rest of the food in there. Things like sprouts and a layer of dulse to get my daily dose of trace minerals.
One of the beauty of sprouts is that it is source of fresh and simple greens that can be sustained year round. No needing to wait for spring or being subject to the vicissitudes of gardening. Just rinse and drain, rinse and drain, and magically these fresh greens will unfold underneath the fingertips, bursting with B vitamins, anti-carcenogens, and freshness.
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation*....Occupy till I come." **
Hope is doing.