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Walking Our Faith: The Blue Pot of Happiness

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

I don’t remember exactly where I bought the blue 3-liter Le Creuset Dutch oven. It’s been at least 15 years. But I was so thrilled to bring it home because it made me feel like a real cook. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you’ll understand the infatuation for an enameled cast iron pot that somehow makes everything taste better and its owner a bit more adventurous.

Since I arrived in Breckenridge in 2015 this old pot has taken on a much richer meaning. I think of it as the Blue Pot of Happiness.

Because that’s really what it is when I cook. There’s always too much for just me, so I often fill the blue pot with soup or chili or a stew of some sort, carefully place it in a bag on the floor of the front seat of my car and drive it to a friend’s house. That’s what I did this week when I sent the blue pot to my friend Beth, filled with a spicy harissa stew of chicken sausage, chickpeas and red cabbage.

My friend Maggie does the same. Although in her case, it is big jars of granola (the best I’ve ever had) or a chocolate fudge sauce that makes every ice cream special.

In our daily phone call, I told Mom that Breckenridge feels like home because I’ve developed close friendships here. The type of friendships that I haven’t really had before in my life.

They are friendships born out of common interests such as knitting or classical music but became much more authentic when I got to know the person as more than just a shared activity partner.

I think what we’re learning during this time of uncertainty, is to give of ourselves from our talents whether it’s cooking soup for friends or knitting a prayer shawl for a stranger in a hospital room who we’ll never meet but who will feel embraced. It’s the many volunteers who have handed out bags of food at FIRC and brown bag meals at Father Dyer’s church.

We are often called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but it feels as if those words are taking on deeper meaning now.  

Often, my pot full of soup is returned bearing a new soup or stew or something that a friend has made with gratitude. This humble blue pot has traveled to many homes. It got me thinking that it has a lesson to teach us.

When we give of ourselves to another person with no expectations of receiving anything in return, when we pour out ourselves, our empty pot and our open hearts are filled with something new to nourish us.

The Bible speaks of giving generously, and we usually think of that in terms of money. But what I’ve been thinking of today, what I believe we need more of right now, is giving of ourselves.

What if we offered our talents without qualification or expectation?

What if we gave something we had too much of, to someone who doesn’t have enough, simply out of love?

What if we acknowledged a perspective or experience different from our own, without rushing to offer our defense? (This one has become my top challenge.)

What if instead of labeling ourselves “right” and everyone else “not,” we strive to follow Christ’s example of loving unconditionally in our relationships with friends, family, and most of all, strangers?

What if we looked first for what unites us: our common goodness, our shared desire for safety, security and love? What if that became our foundation for building new solutions for old wounds?

Giving and receiving has been going on throughout our country over the last four months in truly unprecedented ways. We’ve reached out to frontline workers be they in hospitals or grocery stores, to seniors living in isolation, or by expressing our willingness to listen while someone who feels that they have never truly been heard, is finally being heard by us.

I’ve marveled that my blue pot has always returned home, even after all of its travels. But if someday it does not return to me, I believe its journey will not be over. I believe it will continue to be the bearer of happiness and nourishment no matter where it goes.

Because an empty soup pot is like an open heart. By their very natures they are to be filled and as they are filled they bless others again and again.

I hope we will look for ways in which we can become bearers of a blue pot in our community and in the wider world.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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