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Report From PIA – October 16

If you’re not feeling tip top – not absolutely depressed, mind you, but just a bit blue and not-quite-up-to-snuff – I recommend the following: exercise, prayer and homemade soup.

It was grey, cold and damp today, and although nothing really terrible is going on in my life, I felt a bit blue this afternoon. Too wet to go out for a walk with The Dog, I decided, so it was time to move to strategies 2 and 3: prayer and homemade soup.

I’ve always liked the phrase “pray without ceasing”, which comes from the Bible, Thessalonians 5:17. It’s not that I think we should be constantly saying, “Oh, God, please…” with bowed heads, but that we should attempt to be aware of spirit in our lives, in this day and every day.

Part of that awareness is being thankful for what we have. Check out Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer, by David Steindl-Rast.

So to me, this means that when I’m not feeling at my best, when the weather is cold and rainy, as it is today, and I’m tempted toward unhappiness, I should think about those things I’m thankful for. This is a good way to pray without asking for something specific, and at the same time focusing on those things that are blessings right now.

One of those things is homemade soup: comfort food. Soup is not only good for the body, but for the soul… and it doesn’t have to be made with chicken. You can make a soup with whatever is in the garden/refrigerator/freezer.

I used some beans and chard from the garden, some leftover sausage from the fridge, and any containers in the freezer that were labeled ’08. (Note to self: take anything labeled ’07 out of the freezer and put it in the compost.) There was a container labeled “tomato mushroom sauce” and one marinara sauce that went into tonight’s soup pot, not to mention basil, parsley and thyme from the herb garden.

Something about soup helps a person to be grateful, I think. All of these little bits of food, these frozen chunks, herbs and leftovers, come together to make a tasty, soothing supper. I am calmed by the meal, which is a reminder of the importance of gratitude, and the knowledge that simply gathering several small things together might create something more.

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