How do you get in touch with God? When do you experience the feeling that you are dwelling within a sacred moment? There are many ways that we can access the Divine. Some people experience the sacred in cathedrals and churches; others experience the holy in the smile of a newborn baby; still others in the quiet time of prayer. For me, I experience God in the midst of ordinary every day experiences with my family at home, at the beach, and especially in my garden. My granddaddy—my mother’s father—was a Wesleyan Methodist Minister back in the day. As I am writing this post, in my mind I can hear his strong vibrato tenor singing the hymn, “Come to the garden alone.”
I get this question all the time. Long after I became vegetarian, a memory from my childhood surfaced. It is a surprising story about Sundays on my grandfather’s farm. I know that my love of vegetable gardens comes from my dad and grandpa. Every year we plant a garden at my home. This past year, during the heat of August when the tomatoes were fresh off the vine, I wrote this short story at a Spiritual Women’s Writing Retreat. I share it to you below.
Some of my progressive pastor friends may think I am vegetarian because of the original commandment from God to Adam and Eve in the garden--“God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29. Much to people’s dismay, I wanted to marry someone who was vegetarian. At the time I was vegan, until I was introduced to paneer–indian cheese often served with spinach and an amazing blend of spices. Yum. I became vegetarian because my friend Adrienne shared with me health statistics of cancer rates among those eat meat and those who don’t. The vegans had the lowest rates of cancer, and so I gave up meat and dairy at that time. So that is why I became vegetarian. It’s because of my husband being Indian that I gave up being vegan…the paneer and ghee was just too delicious.
A better question is why I stayed vegetarian. As I learned how to prepare a vast repertoire of international vegetarian dishes, I craved less and less the dishes of my childhood. When I did crave them, the vegetarian market for protein substitutes worked well with traditional recipes. Then, when I met others who chose to be vegetarian for religious, health, or animal rights reasons, it just seemed to continue to be the right decision for me.
Yes, our kids are veggie too. I still believe it is a better health choice overall and I hope that our children are more compassionate and conscious of what they eat because of it.
Whether you eat your veggies or not, I hope you enjoy my short story below! Be warned, there is a surprising ending…
Silver Buttons, Pink Pigs, & Innocence Lost
by Rev. Tanya Sadagopan
The car didn’t seem to go fast enough down that country road lined east to west with corn taller than the station wagon my dad was driving. I did not like that corn—it was too high to see around. I was afraid that someone would steal me away if I wandered in between the corn-rows, so I stayed clear. Nose pressed up against the window, I watch for the corn to end and the farm-houses to begin. Sunday’s at Grandpa’s farm were the best! Grandpa lives on county road J. A funny name for a road, just a letter of the alphabet, but there is a K and L road too. I wonder if roads A, B, and C start in some other county. But I only care about county road J and how long it would take to get past this corn. Continue reading “A Child’s Memory of the Farm, before I was Vegetarian”→