I ended up running to the closest Catholic church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, for the 9 a.m. service. Running…because I was a few minutes late. The Door of Mercy sign made me pause and slow down. Pope Francis declared it the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It’s about being merciful with ourselves, with others, and recognizing God’s mercy for all of us.
I got inside and something very weird was going on.
First, there were big security guys dressed in black suits with ear thingies in all over the church along with NYPD. They were checking bags if you wanted to sit in the center. Second, it was speed-mass. At my church, Palm Sunday mass starts a half-hour earlier just to fit all the Palm Sunday-ness in. At St. Pats, no such pomp and circumstance. No extra-long readings, blessings, or incense, no sermon, only one verse of each song, and only about half the church went to communion.
9 a.m. mass was over at 9:30!!!
I was stunned. I know you non-Catholic friends are wishing we could cut our weddings to a half-hour.
It got me thinking about how complicated we can make really simple things. The mass was still a very holy experience without all the usual extra stuff.
You know how my relationship with faith is often a metaphor for food. We make eating so complicated. So much agony, so many questions, so much stuff to add, consider, organize, and to do. What if it were like this simple mass instead? What? How?
Last week, I needed a little dietary re-set. Not a cleanse, just less of the way I had been doing things over the winter. Let’s just say I took really, really good care of myself over the winter which involved a lot of homemade sauce, homemade pasta, and sausage. I needed less complicated food. Less complicated for me to cook-it was a busy week, I had a cough and felt a little run down. Less complicated for me to shop. Less complicated for me to eat. Less complicated for my body to digest.
It was like a week of mercy for my body, schedule, and energy.
Here’s what I did to uncomplicate things: I had a pretty simple smoothie of whatever fruits and smoothie-friendly veggies I had around with a scoop of V-shake for breakfast. (V-shake info here). I ran out of the shake mix so I just went without it. I made a huge pot of vegetable soup and had that with some add-ins for all other meals.
“Oh, Ang, I don’t have time!” Really? I work three jobs. You have time to make soup.
Here’s what I did in 5 minutes:
Turned on burner with big pot on it. Added smidge of olive oil. Cut up an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Threw in pot. Let cook while I did something else for 5 minutes. Added broth, water, a can of tomatoes, and frozen vegetables. Threw in some herbs, salt and pepper. Let cook til I had to leave. Filled a big to-go container with the soup. For me that’s a giant glass jar. Put a big spoonful of brown rice I had in the fridge in the jar. A couple times I threw some plain chicken in there, too. Et voila. Soup to go. I ate this for lunch, snacks and dinner. Dan and Soph ate some for dinner each night too. Of course, for Dan soup is merely an appetizer.
No detox plan or recipe required. I took my vitamins, but no other cleanse supplements. No Pinterest-ing recipes or buying books or signing up for someone’s miracle plan that would solve all my digestive ills. You do that too, right?
Just simple soup. Simple like mass at St. Pat’s.
The really cool thing is by the weekend, I felt ready for sausage and peppers with my brother. My coffee tastes better. Homemade bread tastes better. I feel lighter.
Eating does not have to involve a whole bunch of variety, a plan, or complicated ingredients and recipes. Eating real food, simply prepared will nourish your body, your schedule, your tastebuds, and your life.
How can you make eating simpler today?