Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday/Monday Scribblings--Chocolat


Behold, if you will, the unassuming cocoa bean. Does it look like anything special to you? It has no flowers to attract the discerning bee. Its brown and rough exterior betrays no hint of the potential it possesses. Perhaps the cocoa bean would have remained in obscurity forever, merely a pod for the continued growth of the cacao tree. But the wise ancients saw beyond the immediate lack of promise. Something about the bean caught their imagination, and they started to play with the possibilities. I’m sure they hit a lot of dead ends...it doesn’t look like it would work very well as a weapon. Lobbing it at enemies would probably cause no more than a nasty bruise. It’s an odd shape, not very suitable as a building material. Clothing seems out of the question.

And yet, the ancients continued tweaking and poking at the humble bean. Perhaps they were unwavering in their belief that everything has a purpose to be discovered and a destiny to be fulfilled. Perhaps they stopped and started, put it aside, tinkered with something else, shared information and inspiration. Maybe they even lost hope and threw it across the field, watching it half heartedly thud to the ground, no good even as a child’s toy.

Over time (chocolate cooks best at a slow simmer, after all), the cocoa bean revealed its tantalizing secret. And the earliest version of chocolate was born, known even then as a food of the gods. Our ancient family was rewarded for their patience with a delectable treasure--a celebration!

What in our lives is like the cocoa bean? Quiet, ordinary, seemingly useless and dull? What appears brown and lumpy, misshapen? Is it possible that with a little imagination and play, some of those life beans could yield a chocolate benediction? After all, the ancients didn’t know they were looking for chocolate--they were just convinced that every seed and tree and plant has a reason. And aren’t you just as valuable to the world as a seed or tree or plant?

Maybe we could be like the ancients for our souls, tending our worthless bits until we discover their gifts...whatever they may be? We might discover something vital that could change the world.

After all, that’s how we got chocolate.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

You couldn't possibly have known it, but I needed to hear today about the hidden gifts. Thinking about what in my life is like a cocoa bean, "quiet, ordinary, seemingly useless and dull" and "tending worthless bits until discovering their gifts"--this is essential to me right now. Your words, like chocolate, are the "benediction".

12:51 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger Living Part Deux said...

This is such a wonderful inspiration for the day. It has always amazed me that some person once had the foresight - or temerity - to try something (like chocolate) that could, by the way, have been quite poisonous. What a windfall reward. And what a thoughtful, positive way to approach areas of our life that could be "useless and dull" that could possibly blossom into shining usefulness. Great, great thoughts.

1:44 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger paris parfait said...

I like how you started with the discovery of chocolate and then asked questions about the readers' lives. Analogies are great!

3:44 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

i love this! i love the way your questions told a story and how you applied it to our lives! brilliant!

4:24 PM, April 24, 2006  
Anonymous Beansprout said...

This is great! I love how you challenged me to take a look and ask "Aren’t you just as valuable to the world as a seed or tree or plant?" Finding value in myself is always a challenge but I think it is time to take your advice to heart and tend my worthless bits until I discover my gifts...whatever they may be. Oh to "discover something vital that could change the world"...that is somthing I long for. Thank you so much.

4:31 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger Cate said...

LOVE this post. I love all of your posts! Have I said that before? I seem to get very repetitive with my praise, but man, sister, you ARE good!

I'm so grateful for the deeper meaning behind this--the investment of time in discovering gifts, the new way of looking at something old, etc. There is so much possibility in your lovely words.

I'm still laughing (and I really cracked up, so TG I wasn't drinking anything when I read it) over the part where they threw the bean across the field and watched it thud. Makes me think of cavemen trying to make a wheel!

Oh, xo to you for being a fabulous writer. I just feel comforted whenever I visit here!

5:57 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger Susannah said...

This was a wonderful post and has got me thinking about the cocoa beans in my llife... Hmmm. glad to have found you, and am looking forward to mooching thru your archives over a mug of tea...
Sx

6:01 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger M said...

this is brilliant! What a great idea! I am definitely ready to search for the gifts amongst my ordinary bits. What great thoughts!

6:40 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger Laini said...

What a lovely idea, that even the unassuming and plain things in life have their own purpose, and potentially such a magnificent purpose!

10:16 PM, April 24, 2006  
Blogger megg said...

What a wonderful question to ask. I often wonder about food like that - I mean, who's a thought it?! WONDERFUL question - one I am going to think about today!

3:47 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

perhaps i need to cook at a low simmer and i'll find out my special purpose. ;)

i thoroughly enjoyed reading this. i love that interwoven throughout all of your eloquent words are history lessons.

you~brilliant~you.

6:58 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Mardougrrl said...

All of your comments are better than ice cream, better than chocolate.

Thanks, as always, thank you!

2:14 PM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger Alexandra G said...

I have never ever thought about chocolate and its evolution in this way before (probably because I am too busy eating it!). This was SUCH a wonderful post, taking the process from its beginning and applying it to what it means for our own lives. I think I could see a few painful ways my life resembles this precious bean- thank you for this beautifully written and thought provoking post-so very, very inspiring.

4:07 AM, April 29, 2006  

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