It’s a humble blue metal bowl with a black rim.
The enamel is chipped in several places and the inside faded and stained. It’s one of my most treasured possessions.
As a preschooler, my dad’s mom invited me into her world. In the summer, I roamed the garden eating raspberries while she picked peas. We moved to the porch when her bucket brimmed with tender pods. She sat in one lawn chair and me in another with the blue bowl between us, shelling until the last pod was stripped of its juicy contents. Into the freezer went peas for the winter.
Then, new potatoes.
With our trusty bowl in hand, Grandma led me to the hills of deliciousness waiting to be harvested. “Don’t pull the whole thing out,” she’d instruct. “Just dig your hand down into the dirt around the plant and see what you can find.” Treasure! My tiny fingers followed roots to the gems at the end – little spuds.
I gently extracted them from the rich black soil, careful to heed Grandma’s warning, and dropped them into the blue bowl. How to describe that sound when the coveted vegetable plunked into the bowl? Or the sight when water swirled over the potatoes, separating dirt from food?
Last week my husband and I harvested the first crop of our new potatoes. The bowl sprang to life with rich sensory bursts as I dropped Russets in and watched our bounty whiten as water became brown and silt settled. Even the gritty feel as I swooshed my hand across the bottom to rinse the bowl took me back to Grandma’s garden.
I highly doubt that my grandmother sat down one day and said, “How can I impact Shelaine’s life for good? How can I build experiences into her that will show up when’s she’s picking her own potatoes at 52? How will I let my granddaughter get to know me? How will I get to know her?”
No, I think she simply lived her life, bringing me alongside, letting me watch, and answering my questions.
It’s a powerful mentoring method that Jesus himself used during his life on earth and leaves me asking, “Who am I sharing my life with? Who is watching how I live? Who do I have opportunity to influence simply by inviting them along? Who has questions for me?”
And, for today, who will get to eat our new potatoes?
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst