As some of you may know, I am a Catholic. I pray. Not perfectly, but I try. Sometimes you feel spiritual darkness, where you think what the heck am I doing this for because it’s not working, but, with faith, you keep going. Because you believe. Because you’re not a child waiting for an immediate response, and you know that sometimes, you can’t feel God around, but then, suddenly, you get an answer and you know He was listening to you all along and that your faith in Him was being tested.
My son was the object of many Rosaries and prayers, asking God to help him through a breakup. He took it really hard, and of course, as a father, you worry. Especially me! You pray for healing in his life journey, and then this weekend happened. Firstly, on Friday I was allowed to leave work at Friday lunchtime as I was completely up to date, and I managed to get an appointment to get my beard seen to at the barbers. I was starting to look as if I was getting familiar with my vagrant side. The girl who looked after me was obviously very skilled and when I came out, I looked way better, almost like a regular member of society, and a little less like Karl Marx or Victor Hugo.
Don’t ask me why, but I was motivated to get into my kitchen on Saturday and start creating. I have, like many of you, Dear Reader, been infected by TikTok. Various styles of TikTok exist or rather various styles of videos that people gravitate towards. For me, all those filters are just a waste of space, and not really my thing, but what is, is the Italian American Nonnas, that share their food and cooking secrets. A lot seems to be pretty basic and uses few ingredients, but as one Italian chef refers to it, it is the “sound of love” as he swishes around the food in the pan. And he’s right, of course. Cooking for somebody is a labour of love! So, I cooked. I prepared food for my wife and daughter. It was simple and uncomplicated, but it was flavoursome. And flavoursome is a word that I have a great deal of affection for.
Killian came in to see what I was doing and to taste what I was doing. He approved of my decision. We agreed that we would cook later that day together for the evening feast and that we had to empty the freezer. We also agreed that the next morning that we would go to the shops to get some celery, so I could make some more sauces. But just celery, mind you… I humoured him and agreed. That night, we made the evening meal together. Alexa was on, and we were just two guys chilling in the kitchen making food. It was wonderful A real father/son moment. All was well with the world. He prepared the fish, and the mashed potato, and I was to prepare the French beans. We prepared our ingredients, chopped finely, or just seasoned ready to go into the oven. And put everything together for our meal. We even found some cheese to put on top of the fish pie to make it crispy.
The next day came along, and we were still on high from the previous evening. I saw my son with his hands in a bowl making something that looked awfully like bread! He was actually making Cheese filled Nan bread, which is like Nonna Bread, just less Italian… After two cups of tea, finding some clean socks, and getting dressed, we headed out to get our celery. I told him to get a couple of bags, knowing full well that we wouldn’t “just” get some celery. Yeah, but Dad, I don’t want to do the weekly shopping. Don’t worry, son, we won’t. Instead of getting a trolley, we just used one of the plastic baskets to limit my spending frenzy. I could see that he was starting to get worried about the amount of food entering the basket, and told him it would be alright. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a food shop I don’t see produce, I see parts of recipes. I see what I can do with each bit of food and how it becomes an ingredient. With this, I can do that, etc. The total came up to €42 which is pretty good since without some discipline, and self-control, I could have filled up a whole trolley. It has happened in the past. Hence today’s helpful tip. Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry!
Bouyed up on the day’s food, and fatherly son moments, it was with inner peace that I arrived at Mass that evening. Only very slightly late because of Nantes traffic, I didn’t feel too horrible! All of a sudden I looked up and saw this strange man. Except it wasn’t a strange man, but Jean Guillaume my old friend that I didn’t recognise at first because he shaved his beard. He had been through relationship troubles but was happy to present his new companion. I was so happy to be able to see him again after so much time. He left before Mass had finished, and when mass was over I messaged him to say to meet up the next Sunday and that we would go and get something to eat together and he could bring me up to date.
Lent is a time when we prepare ourselves for Easter by doing pennance and recognising our many sins. Back in the day, one would give up something, and then the bsihops started telling us to do something extra. After the success of last year, I’m giving up the drink, and as I’m already doing a daily rosary, I asked my wife to join me in praying it. It’s not always easy as she complains about the old fashioned way I say the prayers in French calling God Vous instead of the more modern Tu. I’m more familiar with the credo in French as I learnt it when Killian was a boy. but we still manage to do it though and find a common understanding, much like in our married lives. I started gently by doing on decade with her, but we’re gradually moving up a notch and by Easter I would hope for us to be able to do a full rosary together. I don’t know what effect it might have on us both, but one has to trust in God’s paln for us, and no prayer is ever wasted and sometimes are even answered when you least expect it…