Right now my dad is visiting me all the way from Florida, and while he’s here he requested that I make at least one dinner. So last night I made a meal of bone-in pork chops with a plum wine and cream sauce, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and a salad of herb-greens with a honey-ginger-balsamic vinegar dressing. It turned out really well, and although I’m rarely completely satisfied with the way a meal tastes after I’ve cooked it, this one came close to being exactly what I’d hoped for!
Right now I’m sitting in my old bedroom – the one I lived in for most of my childhood and for the 5 years I lived at home between college and graduate school. I’ve spent the last two days with my family, celebrating my father’s birthday, and also today had a chance to have lunch with some friends.
Coming home like this is a mixed blessing. I love seeing my family and friends, love spending time relaxing and chatting about random things with my sister, love the chance to take naps during the rainy afternoons and go to the beach to see the water I miss so much when I’m in Springfield. The problem is, it’s so nice that I don’t want to leave again. Every time I come home to visit it becomes harder to leave.
It’s funny – I know technically that if I did stay here, the excitement of being back would eventually fade and life would return to normal and I would no longer find this place as attractive as it seems to me right now. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to be here, where my family and the people who’ve cared about me for so long are within hugging distance and going to the beach means a half-hour drive to a little corner of paradise.
I’ve reconciled myself to a lot of aspects of Springfield. I’ve learned where to find my international and gourmet foods, learned which restaurants have an actual sense for the art of food, learned that I can enjoy going to the park even though it’s not the beach, and I’ve developed friendships that I would really miss if I left. But in my heart, I think I’ll always be a Florida girl. Fort Myers is no metropolis, and it’s not really all that glamorous, but it’s home to me. No matter where I go in the world I think I’ll still miss it. I don’t know that I’ll ever live here again, but I think there’s a piece of me here that will always be left behind when I go back to wherever it is that life takes me. My family is here, my history is here, and my roots here are too strong to be entirely removed.
So…here’s to trips home, spending time with family and friends, and trying to get the most joy out of every moment of an all-t00-short holiday. It’s nice to be home.
13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
14 Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul;
if you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
In LaBelle, Florida there is a shop owned by the Harold P. Curtis Honey Company. It’s not a large shop, but the honey they sell is nothing short of miraculous. Although they sell a few different varieties of honey, the orange blossom honey really can’t be beat – it has a delicate floral quality to it that, for me at least, conjures up a particularly Floridian aura. When I was a child my family drove through LaBelle frequently on the way to visit family members, and I always looked forward to our stop at the “honey place” to get a honey stick I could suck on for the rest of the trip. And since I moved to Springfield, Missouri, the best gift anyone has given to me was a half-gallon of that same orange blossom honey I have been eating since I was a child. For months, every time I bit into a piece of toast drizzled with that honey, it was like taking a tiny trip back to my home.
The flavor of honey may seem simple, but in reality it’s very complex. Like a fine wine, honey has deep and subtle notes of flavor that have a powerful effect upon our senses as we taste it. In Proverbs, the poet compares the character of wisdom to the nature of honey – both are sweet to the person who has the chance to experience them. I believe the author also wanted us to notice that wisdom contains the complexity of honey. As we begin to seek wisdom from God, not only does it bring joy and sweetness of life to us, but it also brings the underlying assurance of hope for the future.
The flavor of orange blossom honey from the little shop in LaBelle will always bring me pleasant thoughts of the past. As we experience the wisdom that comes from God and make decisions based on that wisdom, we will be forever reassured that our future is in His hands and that it will be sweet.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
My cousin Robin got married recently. Her wedding was beautiful, but even more wonderful than that was the chance to see all my family after a long time without that chance. My mom’s side of the family always used to meet annually at Christmastime and spend time together, but since the cousins started getting married and having their own families it hasn’t really been possible. Having the chance to see everyone at Robin’s wedding was such a blessing!