Even the word feels less than inviting. Chard sounds more like a weapon or an act of violence than a vegetable. I’ve never eaten it, cooked with it or have even seen it before this day. As it lay there, it dared me to make something anyone would like from it. I questioned whether I was up for the challenge.
I’ve wanted to up our eating of healthy whole foods for a bit, so I’ve been participating in a buying club, where each week we receive a box of selected fruits and vegetables. Yes, I knew I’d have to deal with whatever I received. Trying new recipes on foods I wasn’t familiar with sounded fun. A bit exotic.
I nibbled a leaf raw. Bitter as the day is long. I took a small bite of the stem. That was worse. So I did what every technologically savvy person does when finding themselves with inedible food.
I googled it.
You know what? Most recipes add something substantial to change the taste, to take away the bitterness, to soften the bite. It’s a tremendously healthy green, but I figured I might as well be grazing in my back yard as eating this.
I am that chard. You think that a stretch? No, no, it’s a logical analogy. In it’s natural form, chard is bitter and unpleasant. Fairly inedible, unless you’re a bovine or a bunny. (I actually gave some of this stuff to Midnight, the rabbit. She thought it delightful.) On quite a number of occasions, I find it rather easy to fall into an attitude of bitterness and unpleasantness. I’m not an unpleasant person by nature, but it always amazes me how the slightest thing–like someone cutting me off in traffic or a thoughtless comment from someone I care about–can move me into that “chardness” place.
And like the chard, it takes something outside myself to make me different. If I add a little garlic, olive oil and some seasoning to this green, cook it up slowly, it actually is flavorful–surprisingly so. I can’t determine to be better just by making up my mind. That lasts all of a few minutes. But if I allow Jesus to deal with my issues, trusting Him to change my heart by faith, allowing Him to alter my focus from me to His truth and His character, He can and will change that unpleasantness.
It doesn’t happen overnight. He seasons me with His love, marinating me in His grace, which softens up the tough parts of me in a way that redeems my basic nature. That unpleasantness may not be totally gone, but I become more like the One who made me, the One who created me to be a fine piece of His workmanship, reflecting Him.
And isn’t that a tasty bit of hope for this chard.