Hope Finds a Treasure

During the last two weeks, three people at separate times have told me, “You are a treasure.”

I know this is a compliment and I truly appreciate the sentiment. At the same time, I am a bit nonplussed to be described as such.

National+TreasureWhen I think of treasure, my first impression is an antiquity. The movie “National Treasure” comes to mind as Nicholas Gage spends 90 minutes trying to find the lost treasures his Masonic ancestors hid in various places.

Gage, of course, succeeds and manages to fall in love at the same time, which spawns the second movie in the series and pleas from his fans for a third.

Although my joints sometimes cry a different melody, I don’t feel like an antiquity. I have, however, traveled around the block a few times and know a few things about life.

So I have thought about what I treasure and how I might practice more gratitude within my soul for those treasures I hold dear.

My treasures do not represent stuff, because I am antiquated enough to know that eventually – most of our stuff ends up at Goodwill and if I had all the money back that I have spent on stuff throughout the years – I could buy a car.

No, the true treasures for me involve people and memories – those happenings and experiences involving flesh and blood folks that cannot be replaced.

My relationship with my son is a treasure. There’s something especially sweet when our children mature and we move into an easy friendship instead of strictly a parent / child relationship.

We have great discussions about life, politics and important things like which laptop to buy and how to set up the wi-fi.

We express our opinions about  world systems and how we fit into them, the goals each of us hold for 2015 and how we are moving toward our dreams. I so desperately want my son to see his dreams become reality.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I treasure sitting with my child – https://rjthesman.net/2015/03/10/hope-sits-with-my-child/

Another treasure involves growing up on the farm. Although my world now exists in the city, nothing can take from me the joy of climbing a tree, perching in its generous limbs and scribbling my first stories in my Red Chief Tablet.

Watching the massive Oklahoma sunsets change colors, celebrating the waving wheat (“that smells so sweet”) and digging my hands into fresh garden earth to plant seeds that would later produce our supper – these are treasures that make me long for those hard-working blessed days without the stress of internet surfing and bungled emails.

Even writing about the country fills my heart with longing for my dream – a log home tucked safely between old trees that hold their own secrets – one room of that home surrounded by windows with my writing desk perched smack in the middle of all that light and creativity.

Because I am a writer, I observe people so one of my favorite treasures involves the many human beings I have known.

Students from various countries around the world, women who have enriched my life and saved it many times with their nurturing hearts, ministers of both genders and every race who have spoken into my life and the myriads of writers who bless me just by being their weird and wonderful selves.

People are a treasure, walking and talking receptacles of divine cells that God has pronounced, “Very good.”

My life has been enriched by meeting these folks, spending time with them, developing relationships with them, disagreeing with them and praying with them.

So I gladly accept the moniker of “treasure,” because I hope I have somehow spoken into the lives of others the encouragement that keeps me going, the perseverance that keeps me writing and the joy that keeps me breathing.

I would be interested to know what you consider a treasure. How about sharing with all of us your thoughts on the subject?

©2015 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G books http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh

What is the Value of a Cast-Iron Pot?

It may seem a bit premature, but we have started dividing up Mom’s things. She no longer needs a cabinet full of Tupperware containers, because she no longer lives in her house or cooks and puts away leftovers.

In one kitchen cabinet, the cast-iron pot sits like a lonely sentinel of Sunday dinners past. Every Sunday morning, Mom put a roast in that pot. It sizzled and brewed in its own juices while we learned about God at the worship service. 20140410_220251_1

When we came home, Mom took the roast out. It was magically perfect every time. She had no clue that someday Alzheimer’s would rob her of the ability to cook.

When I thought of Mom’s cast-iron pot and how it might be destined for a garage sale, I asked my sister if I could have it. It’s amazing how a kitchen item evokes so many memories. Our family sitting around the table, discussing the sermon or the music from that Sunday’s worship time.

“Wasn’t that offertory by the organist amazing?”

“I loved that choir song at the end. Marilyn hit that last note perfectly. Was it a high C?”

“What exactly did the pastor mean about free will? I don’t get that.”

Dad would explain while Mom nodded in approval. We all added to the discussion, passed the roast beef around once more and made sure the gravy lasted for the final helping of potatoes and carrots. Cherry jello melted next to the hot veggies.

After dinner, we all helped clean up. Mom, my sister and I worked on the dishes and any leftovers, hiding them in those same Tupperware containers that Mom no longer needs. My brother and my dad pushed the chairs back under the table, then settled themselves in the living room with pieces of the Sunday paper. The sounds of a football game’s broadcast echoed throughout the house.

Back in my home, I lift the cast-iron pot to my face and try to smell the pot roast. But it has been many years since it held the meat from cattle my dad fed, then butchered so his family could eat.

The smell is gone, but the soul ties to memory live on. I slide the cast-iron pot into my own cabinet, wondering if I will use it – probably never put a pot roast in it as I rarely eat beef any more. Maybe I’ll try a chicken, season it with rosemary and lay tiny shallots around the perimeter.

Will my son remember our meals together with such fondness? Will he someday hold my pots and pans and treasure special meals? I doubt it. We have such different schedules, we eat together only once a week, our Sunday ritual that is usually take-out.

Is this cast-iron pot another remnant of a generation gone that spent quality and quantity time together? The soul of my mother’s preparations, of the farmhouse kitchen, cold winters and abundant harvests ̶ the joy of being family. I miss that piece of cultural history.

Mom’s cast-iron pot is now my treasure. Maybe I’ll take it out of the cabinet and place it where I can see it often, to remind me of the love of family and the importance of every day.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1