1. to enjoy greatly
synonyms: enjoy, delight in, love, adore, take pleasure in, rejoice in, appreciate, savor, revel in, luxuriate in, glory in
The world outside was an old gray dishrag, wet and dripping, on the
day I met a writer friend for coffee. Settling in, we
shared our mutual hatred of January, the way it feels like it always
has five weeks at least or seven.
“February is ok,” she said. “By February I at least have
hope that March will be nicer.”
This writer is a friend of a friend and has attended several
of the local writing events I’ve offered.
Each time we meet, we talk like people who don’t know each other well,
but would like to know each other better.
Near the end of one event, as we stood talking, she said something I’ve mulled over for months. She had been asking what
I was up to now that all of my kids are in school and when I fumbled for a
response she said something like, “I think it takes a good year for a woman to
recover after her kids start school.” That
one sentence stuck with me and offered much needed permission as I begin the
process of reemergence after years of being fully
consumed by a hectic home life.
Over coffee last week we each talked about our works in
progress and writing plans for the future.
She’s just finished revisions on her first novel, is wading into a
second, and looking for an agent. I told
her how I’d written a rough draft of a memoir last spring and, in the midst of
it, realized I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. So I stopped working on the memoir and
started writing Chicken Scratch: Stories of Love, Risk & Poultry.
“You know how, if you were going to sew a wedding dress, you
would first sew a mock-up of the pattern out of cheaper material, to make sure
you understood how to do it?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, nodding.
“That’s what Chicken
Scratch was supposed to be, a chance to try the process,” I explained.
“Well, it worked out well,” she said.
The thing is, writing and publishing Chicken Scratch taught
me a lot about publishing, but it didn’t teach my how to write a memoir and
that’s where I find myself stuck now. “I’m
not really sure what I’m doing next,” I said.
“Well, you did a lot –
writing and publishing that book in a very short period of time. Maybe you just need to relish that,” she suggested.
Registering my blank stare, she asked, “Have
you done that?”
In my imagination, the word relish hung between us like some
gorgeous, ripe fruit swaying on a low-hanging branch.
Relish is a rich word, luxurious like dark chocolate and red wine. The act of relishing, though, is utterly foreign to me. The act of relishing sits like caviar on a cracker – I don’t
know what to do with it, don’t know if I even want to try.
“No,” I said, “I haven’t.”
Then, I added, “I don’t know how to.
I’m a worker bee, always on to the next thing.”
With that, our conversation shifts again to future plans, but the word ‘relish’ stays with me for days; sticky, like a trace of honey in my mind. Looking it up to write about it today, I see that to relish is to love, to delight in, enjoy and rejoice and it occurs to me that, although the word relish may not appear in the Bible, it’s synonyms sure do.
A quick glance at the Psalms, or at Jesus for that matter, reveals that people of God are to be skilled in the art of relishing – biblical writers delight in the Lord, in God’s word, in creation. We are to be people who know how to enjoy the goodness of this earthly life. Without the ability to relish the good, how will we ever adequately recognize and confront the bad?
When it comes to “relishing” I have, some work cut out for me, which suits this worker bee just fine. The invitation now is to look and listen for the doorways of delight, the moments when I can open my hands, my heart, to the goodness of what is and has been done. And by doing so, I will be buoyed to begin whatever new work the future holds.
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