I am grateful for the abundance of food.
Yesterday, I decided to make a red lentil soup with lemon and mint, a staple in Syrian cuisine. I came across the recipe in the New York Times, which did a feature on "Soups for Syria", where chefs got together to raise money for the Syrian refugees.
While making the soup, I forgot to purchase one of the ingredients. I was annoyed at myself for missing this in my shopping trip. I rushed out of the house, sat in my car and made the short drive to Safeway. I came back home to finish making the soup.
When it was time to break the fast, I excitedly put a spoonful of the soup in my mouth since I couldn't taste it while it was cooking. My mouth was on fire. I realized that I was too generous with the chili flakes and I kept thinking to myself, "how will we eat this soup?" I felt like all of my effort was a big waste. Fortunately, the spice level was remedied with the addition of some yogurt.
After reflecting on this experience some more, I imagined putting myself in Syria and going through the task of making the soup. Instead of a convenient trip to the store, I'd have to worry about dodging bullets getting there. When I'd finally make it to the marketplace, I'd discover the harsh truth that my effort was fruitless because there was nothing there to buy. I'd have to go home empty handed and find ways to feed the many bellies depending on me.
As I eat my bowl of soup, I can't help but feel the blessings and gratitude to be able to have food on my table. I also can't help but feel the intense sadness that I have it easy while on the other side of the world, someone doesn't.