There are few things I love more than setting out on a grand adventure. I know there are folks out there who prefer the safety, security, and dependability of home. But…there is that thrill of anticipation, that rush of excitement when something new is coming. There is the surge of nervous energy when a risk is taken, the sting of failure if things don’t turn out as expected, the hope of new knowledge, the joy of new experiences, and the gratifying sense of determination when we set out again, having grown from this last adventure.
I believe our lives are meant to be an adventure. We are not meant to sit by and let things happen, getting caught up in only routine and monotony. We can all too easily get caught up in doing things just because we have always done them that way, or because they are easier than trying something new. I think our food choices can often be like this. We hesitate to try something new because we have never had it before, we don’t know what it will be like or how to prepare it, and we are afraid of failure. Why? Why not take a risk and try something new? I love buying a strange looking fruit or vegetable from the farmers market or grocery store and researching it to come up with a new meal I’ve never had before. My husband is the subject of my many kitchen adventures, and thankfully appreciates them (and does the dishes!). However, there is one thing I might love more than my own kitchen adventures, and that is being with someone when they try a new food they’ve never had. Better yet if it is something healthy that they are convinced they do not and will not like. When we take a risk to try something new, we are opening ourselves up to the world of possibility. We are in a posture of discovery, where we are able to learn something new. One of my favorite song lyrics, by Nickel Creek, says, “Only the curious have something to find.”
My coworker, Joy, is one of the most curious and open people I have ever met. When I told her I grew up in Saudi Arabia and loved making chicken shawarma, she remembered months later and wanted to learn. So we set out one day to make them, in the style of a Partners in Health and Wholeness cooking show! We chopped veggies, minced garlic, and prepared all the elements of this delicious meal. This process came with many laughs, and the renewed awareness of the important place food holds in our social, emotional and cultural lives. We spent the morning talking about Partners in Health and Wholeness and cooking, and ended up singing praises to God in the afternoon, with satisfied stomachs and delicious garlic lingering on our breath. It was not planned or expected, but it was a beautiful moment.
So let’s each set out to find our own sense of curiosity and adventure. Every day is meant to be an adventure. When we take the risk to open ourselves up to the possibilities of this world, we will grow. This is how our walks with God can be. When we open ourselves up to the possibilities that God is constantly creating in the world around us, we get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We live on edge—looking for what we can discover next, with our eyes truly open and hearts alive. May we find this joy in the foods we eat, the adventures we have in the kitchen, and wherever our journeys take us.
Here’s to the adventure of good food and good health! I hope you enjoy the meal and the preparation as much as we did!
–Shannon Axtell Martin, PHW Regional Consultant
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches. PHW aims to connect health as a faith issue. Please visit our website to sign your personal pledge to be healthier, and to find out about grant opportunities for churches in NC. Continue to stay connected with PHW by liking us on Facebook.