Today being the third Sunday of Advent, in the Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran tradition it is Gaudete Sunday, also referred to a Shepherd’s Sunday or Sunday of Joy. In spite of the current circumstances the entire world finds itself at the moment due to the pandemic and all other aggravating socio-political events, if you look with your heart and soul, there there is always a reason to be grateful and joyful. Shepherd’s Sunday is a call to return to basics, and be like the first visitors to the manger, celebrating each breath you take, the proximity of those that matter most to you, and the presence of a greater power in your life that keeps you motivated and strong. I hesitate to give it a word, because we each have our own relationship with the spiritual.
I had a craving last night for apple strudel and noted with joy that I had all the necessary ingredients in the kitchen. So breakfast this morning consisted of spicy asian fried rice, followed by a gorgeous apple strudel, made the sourest of Granny Smith apples possible. I have no recipe for this, I basically just wing it based on all the years of past experiments! Naturally, when it came out I had to present it to the camera first and foremost! The little angel is borrowed from the Christmas tree…
Today’s strudel reminds me that even during the hard times we will always find ways and means to bring a little joy in our lives. Both my mother and mother-in-law were excellent role models for this life principle. Both women were children during WWII, and lived to witness the horrors as well as the poverty and lean times that followed afterwards. Both women spent the post-war years in rural areas, albeit on opposite sides of the globe, but never forgot the lessons.
These incredibly strong women taught me on so many occasions that there is always magic and joy in retaining the childlike spirit within us. We grow up soon enough and are saddled with the burdens of responsibilities for families and work, but it is that inherent ability to kick back, run barefoot and get dirty without a care in the world that keeps us strong.
The Strudel Principle elevates the simple ingredients in our lives represented by flour, sugar, apples and cinnamon into sophisticated existence. Embrace the transformation, no matter what stage of life you are in.
1. To the outside world you are wrapped in simplicity and frailty, perhaps sporting a tear or two. But what the public never sees is that precious goodness and rich flavours of soul tucked away inside that are the substance of your ego and eros.
2. Let them think what they want, but you know that your character consists of flavourful layers that nurture and nourish.
3. Taking time out to do be completely unproductive is not a sign of weakness, but a marker of a soul that knows how to restore the equilibrium in your personal universe.
Introducing the Strudel Principle into your home is one thing, and probably the easier thing to do as compared to bringing joy and cheer to another home that needs it more than you do. This is the greatest of challenges during Christmas 2020, as our worlds become virtual and our emotions need to be manifested digitally. Nothing will ever be able to replace a hug or a heartfelt handshake, even that much hated pinch on the cheek from an old decrepit aunt, but when it is all taken away, you realise how much joy these little priceless gems bring into our lives. How do we replace them? We can’t but the next best thing is to do a good turn. Now this might be a familiar expression for non-english speakers and I’m not sure how Google will end up translating it if you read my blog with the aid of a translator, but it refers to being kind to someone, as in the biblical sense of being a good Samaritan.
Random acts of kindness bring more joy into a person’s life than you can ever imagine. We are not privy to all the struggles people around us are going through, and many are terrified or painfully ashamed of reaching out for help. Look with your eyes but see with your heart. Kindness matters.