A dear friend gave me some tomatoes this morning. They were called “Flavor Bombs” and were bright red cherry tomatoes linked together with their brothers and sisters on the vine. I recently mentioned to her how much I love summer tomatoes and how offended I am that off-season tomatoes can even be called tomatoes with their dull pinkish cast, their cardboard flesh and their total lack of flavor. So my friend, during her regular market day to Sam’s Club, picked up some “Flavor Bomb” tomatoes for me. Before she handed me the package, she lifted the corner of the cellophane top and took one out.
“Here,” she said. “I usually wash them first, but just try one.” So I did. Oh. Wow. Just wow. Summer exploded in my mouth, it practically sizzled; my mouth was filled with pure deliciousness. It was a moment—and I have a whole box of future moments sitting on my kitchen island.
There are moments in our days where everything in us comes alive. The lists in our heads stop their droning; our minds sharpen and focus; each of our senses flares. That was my tomato moment today. I will also say: yes. This was a wonderful tomato—but the fact that my friend thought of me on her market day and intentionally bought those tomatoes for me was every bit as pleasurable.
What would it be like to live our lives with more intentionality? To refrain from going through the motions and checking all the boxes. Instead, to learn how to savor all the little and big things we experience.
I have been trying to do that today. I am making bread this afternoon—currently in its final rise before it hits the oven—and I breathed in the yeast as I kneaded. I thought about how the dough felt under my palms and watched it stretch on the counter. I enjoy baking bread. Now that I am mostly at home, it’s so easy to find the time. It’s cheaper than store-bought and so infinitely better. My enjoyment was intensified today as I opened my senses, as I thought about these simple ingredients coming together in such a beautiful way to feed my family.
Perhaps thinking more intentionally about what we’re doing and why is a way to slow things down a bit; to cleanse our minds and hearts and learn how to savor. I am trying to do that in my relationships as well. To be with family and friends with my whole self; to listen with my heart and my head; to indulge in shared laughter; to seek to understand when someone is in pain.
These are not new lessons for most of us; but, like adopting an exercise regime, they need to be practiced again and again. It is part of finding the happy in each day. It is also a way of allowing a little of something decadent—say a wonderful tasting tomato in February—to be more than enough.