A friend recommended Julia Child’s book, My Life in France this past week. I grabbed it at the library on Friday and have been completely entranced by the book. I’m not sure I’ve ever watched one of her cooking shows, although I’m sure I’ve seen glimpses of it. I have seen Julie and Julia twice and loved it more the second time. But the book has made me fall in love with the woman. I think what I’ve come to love about her is her free-ness.
If you don’t know about the book, it chronicles her and her husbands years living in France. Ultimately, it is a story about how she fell in love with the French and with cooking in general. She was in her mid-thirties when they moved there and it’s so strange to think that a woman whose name is synonymous with cooking didn’t really start learning how to cook until then. You would have thought she was cooking by the time she could walk! She spent the first part of her life working for the government of the US doing all sorts of government sorts of things, but not cooking.
For me, it sort of reminds me where I am right now. I spent the first part of my working life teaching. I went to school to teach and I taught for nearly ten years. But in the last couple of years, my heart has truly been awakened to a new desire…calling perhaps.
In the story of Julia Child, she arrives in France and gets her first taste of French food and culture and dives in. And she dives in fully. She is determined to learn the language. She is determined to learn how to meld into the culture in which she lives. She doesn’t want to be an ex-pat who just hangs out with the others like her. She wants to blend in with the culture in which she has been placed. Then she wants to learn how to cook like the French so she goes to school and instead of being in the wimpy beginners class, she finally finds her place in the “real” chef’s class. And there it starts for her.
I don’t know for sure, but I would think that she never looked back at her “old” life and was sad that she wasn’t doing what she had done for so long. Her security didn’t come from clinging to where she had been. I’m sure her life wasn’t easy and I’m sure that she failed multiple times as she learned to cook and develop recipes, but she was confident that food and cooking was what made her heart stir; despite any failings she might encounter.
And that made her free.
We aren’t always given the opportunity to do what we love. Sometimes we have to be where we are and pray that the Lord would lead us to be content and be ok with where we are. But sometimes the Lord does bless us beyond measure and brings us to a place where we are not only where we’ve prayed to be; where our heart is stirred in an amazing way. That is where I am. But I spend more time worrying about where I am instead of enjoying it. And that’s why I’ve loved reading this book. It’s been a great reminder about just jumping in for a great ride and truly enjoying it and embracing it. No longer worrying about how long it’s going to last or where it might take me, but resting in it and praying that my heart might bloom.
In Thy fellowship is fullness of joy.
Beneath Thy smile is peace of conscience.
By Thy side no fears disturb,
no apprehensions banish rest of mind.
With Thee my heart shall bloom with fragrance.
~ Valley of Vision #6