Friday, May 13, 2005

Thinking About Lemons

I recently prepared Greek food for two different dinners. The marinade for lamb and chicken kabobs contained fresh squeezed lemon juice. The salad dressing called for lemon juice to mix with olive oil and herbs. We served a lemonade and iced tea with lemon wedges. One of the desserts? Lemon bars. Do you think the Greeks pondered allegory as they cooked?

It occurred to me that for the lemon to be most useful it has to render its juice. If it could choose to, would it? It would mean being cut and then squeezed repeatedly to yield that unique tart citrus nectar that combines so well with oils and sweeteners. To release the juice needed for my recipes, I had to squeeze the outside of the skin and press a wooden juicer tool on the inside. The lemons looked nice in a bowl, but I bought them for one thing: to provide a delicious dinner for my guests. They were exactly the right ingredient. And to remit that wonderful juice inside, they had to be squeezed.

Likewise, it is squeezing (i.e. pressure!) that releases what's inside of me. Something wonderful that will add the right ingredient to a mixture? Hopefully. Some unbelief to be reckoned with and submitted to God? Maybe. Or both? Possibly. Do I want to just look good in the bowl, or am I willing to yield to some squeezing from the outside, as well as from the inside, in order to give up and give out what has been produced in me? Squeezing is just part of the process.

What squeezes you?

Incidentally, it is interesting that the lemon tree is part of the Rutaceae family of plants/trees (see above.)

This lemon thing began to marinade in my mind as I read an excerpt from Douglas Coupland's novel, Generation X. I found it quoted in The Out of Bounds Church by Steve Taylor. How do you think it relates?

"I stood up and was considering this drop of blood when a pair of small fat arms grabbed around my waist, fat arms bearing fat dirty hands tipped with cracked fingernails. It was one of the mentally retarded teenagers, a girl in a sky blue calico dress, trying to pull my head down to her level. I could see her long, streaky, fine blond hair from my height, and she was drooling somewhat as she said, urrd, meaning bird, several times.

I bowed down on my knees again before her while she inspected my talon cut, hitting it gently with an optimistic and healing staccato caress--it was the faith-healing gesture of a child consoling a doll that has been dropped.

Then, from behind me I felt another pair of hands as one of her friends joined in. Then another pair. Suddenly I was dog-piled by an instant family. In their adoring, healing, uncritical embrace, each member wanting to show their affection more than the other. They began to hug me--too hard--as though I were a doll, unaware of the strength they exerted. I was being winded--crushed--pinched and trampled.

The man with the beard came over to yank them away. But how could I explain to him, this well-intentioned gentleman, that this discomfort, no this pain, I was experiencing was no problem at all, that in fact, this crush of love was unlike anything I had ever known."


Blogger sharon k said...

very thought provoking stuff, Jennifer.
I'm also reminded of the healing factors within lemons -- used to fight scurvy, etc.
The "willingness" to be squeezed allows the lemon to provide healing to others who are feeling sqeezed in other ways.
'gotta run.
I'll think more later!

5:02 PM  

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