I tried not to hobble as I made my way to the kitchen. Hobbling did not fit in with the fantasy I was trying to maintain during my trip: living as a Parisian woman in my charming apartment two blocks from the Seine. I ignored my sore feet which had been carrying me all around the city and through miles of museums. They had been shod in supportive ankle boots, not fashionable heels, so I did not consider their complaints legitimate. They were going to have to get on board with the fantasy, and at least let me walk gracefully across the room.
I fixed the perfect meal for Dan and me (he did not care about the fantasy and was lounging with his feet up): slices of baguette from the boulangerie down the street, glasses of wine from the bottle bought, after much discussion with the clerk, in the shop around the corner, three kinds of cheese chosen with help from the passionate fromagerie owner at the market. Eating cheese was one of my favorite French pastimes. So. Much. Cheese.
In France, cheese and wine are characterized by region as much as by variety. The concept of terroir reigns among the vintners, farmers, and cheesemakers. Terroir refers to everything in the environment that affects the product: water, minerals in the soil, plants eaten by the animals, climate, neighboring crops. It’s possible to receive quite an education simply by taking the time to ask questions and then listen to the market vendors and small shop owners talk about their food.
We all grow the fruit of our lives affected by our unique terroir. It can make our produce sickly and bitter, or it can feed those around us with delicious nutrition. We have a choice about what we want to offer the world. The psalmist tells us the one who follows the Lord is “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does he prospers” (Psalm 1:3). God provides the best terroir for our fruit, and in return we can extend it to our hurting families and communities. If our fruit is grown in the environment of God’s love, then it will impart the fragrance and taste and healing of His grace. Dwelling in the environment of God’s love also keeps us – the vines, the sheep, the trees – healthy and ready to grow.
Friends, sink your roots near the life-giving water. Eat in God’s green pastures where He leads you like a Shepherd. Be nourished yourselves so that God can nourish others through you.
And sit down with some of the delicious bounty from the earth. Indulge in a little fantasy of your heavenly home, waiting to welcome you someday.