“When the totals of your plans and of your life’s experiences do not balance out evenly, I am the unsolved remainder. And I know that this remainder, which makes you so frantic, is in reality my love, that you do not yet understand. “ (from a Christmas meditation by Karl Rahner)
I have been thinking about this snippet of Rahner’s ever since reading it anew this year at a prayer during a Christmas Day gathering. I am the unsolved remainder…how complete enticing to me…the idea that there is always more…there is between God and God’s people an “again,” there is hope, there is mystery…there is the difficult honor of love… and oddly, I find that lack of precise clarity somewhat reassuring…rather freeing…accommodating. It accommodates me and my curves and my quirks…my questions and dreams and wonderings…my faults, my glory, my greatness, and my weakness. It accommodates humanity…embraces humanity…inhabits humanity.
So often it is that my life experiences have outstripped my own plans by miles, pages, continents…coffee spoons (thank you, T.S. Eliot, for that useful unit of measure…)…and it is a gift to know that unsolved, unexpected, extra, as love…whether it comes as a challenge or as ease of heart. It makes all the difference…and I fear little would otherwise make sense.
I was also thinking about Rahner this afternoon while in the kitchen…these last days of feasting have meant leftovers…remainders…in the kitchen. A fit of hungry creativity led to satisfied delight as I mused my way through shelves and containers.
2 slices of leftover bacon…fine dice in a bowl
Some leftover potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces…in the bowl.
1/2 an onion…thin thin slices…in the bowl
a bundle of skinny green beans…in the bowl…
A dribble of olive oil over all
A little hit of chili flakes
Stir…dump on a jelly roll pan…400 degrees until the beans start to get brown
The Glory of what Remains
If I was writing
with an oil inked spatula,
gathering into verse
the syllables mingling in the bowl,
slick with the whispering spice
of adventures past,
I’d like to think that those stanzas would sound–
after 400 fresh degrees of small talk–
like my kitchen now smells–
Of bacon and garlic,
beans, and potatoes,
who leave in their steamy wake
an unspoken shimmy
of well comported joy,
a feast about to be read.
Kimberly M. King rscj