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Shot Of The Day

Olive God -- A Modern Day Parable for Timeless Thinkers

They had already sampled so many potential wedding caterers. Today was the last one — Giuseppi. After hearing his voice, Lisa imagined he must be the first generation of his family to make a life in America since the time of Columbus. She had saved the best for last. The food looked fantastic but the sample dinner hadn’t gone exactly as planned. You see, Steve was in a hurry and Giuseppi? Well, he didn’t just love food, he loved describing it in intricate-broken-English — how he prepared each morsel, what region of Italy it came from and why this course was absolutely worthless without that one. Steve wasn’t sure if the food was that great or if the chef’s passion left his audience with such a marvelous taste in their mouths that they were totally bias by the time they actually sampled the fare. Either way, the choice seemed clear to both of them. Sensing that the deal was about to close, Giuseppi went for the icing on the cake, “so Mr. Steve, you want the olives, yes?“ Steve was ready to draw the line there, “No Giuseppi, we don’t need to decorate the edge of each wedding plate with imported olives from Italy. I think we’ve done enough. Don’t you?“ Shaking his head with the disappointment of an offended father, he closed his menu in a huff and curtly started to clear the plates. “If you don’t want Olive God at your wedding, that’s your choice. So be it!“ Both Lisa and Steve were left with that weird curiosity that builds when someone taunts you with a phrase they assume you should know but don’t. “Olive What?“ they asked in unison. “Olive God,” Giuseppi responded with feigned incredulity. And then, without pause, he went on to tell a story that his father had told him, passed down by his grandfather and his grandfather’s father and on up the line as far as the family could be traced. It was the story of how all of God is represented by one fully mature, ready-to-eat olive. Slowly Giuseppi started by describing seeds that drop onto dry soil in some remote land only to be thinned out by birds who swoop down and carry away as many as they can in their pursuit of survival. Guiseppi leans in at this point and repeats a phrase that seems to be the glue that binds the story together: “so sadly children, the olives represented by those seeds never make it to the edge of the wedding plate.” He goes on to broaden his net by describing the seeds that manage to sink into the soil and eventually pop and sprout a tender shoot above the dirt line to reach to the sun for food. Shaking his head with lament, Giuseppi explains that only a handful of those survive the harsh heat of the sun, “so that the olives that would have eventually grown on the trees that would form from those shoots never make it to the edge of the wedding plate.” After many years, a tree starts to form immature fruit that is quickly carried away by animals foraging for food or blown to the ground by storms, “so that sadly those olives never make it to the edge of the wedding plate.” Finally, the season comes for the mature fruit to appear on each tree. A picker, in his eagerness to harvest every ripe piece, inevitably drops some to the ground, “so that those olives never make it to the edge of the wedding plate.” And the ones, that by some miracle survive that far, must still make it on the delivery truck, through washing, de-stemming, brineing, pitting and jarring. If by some miracle they aren’t drown, crushed or marinated too long, they still have to make it through boxing, transporting, warehousing, wholesaling, retailing, shipping and unloading. And just when the last jar in the crate of 24 is about to reach the top shelf on isle five of the grocery store, a cart bumps the bag boy and — crash — it tumbles to the ground spilling olives and broken glass all over the dirty floor so that all that is left of that miraculous journey is “clean up on isle five!” As Giuseppi lifts a beautifully ripe and pitted olive to his lips, he closes his parable with this. “So Mr. Steve and Ms. Lisa, when a guest at your wedding picks up this olive, what they are really celebrating with you is the fact that all of the Creator and all of the Provider and all of the Protector that is GOD brought you to the edge of this day. All of GOD is represented in the fact that you found each other and made it this far. But more than any of that, your guests who are already married, will know that you will need all of GOD to make it the rest of the way together.” Without consultation or pause, both Lisa and Steve blurted out, “we’ll take the olives.” Who wouldn’t want that at their wedding?

THIS PIECE IS PART OF A BIGGER WORK IN PROGRESS BY KAT. THE ORIGINAL DRAMA AND SERMON CALLED THE PHOTO ALBUM OF YOUR LIFE CAN BE DOWNLOADED AT WWW.REACHUP.ORG, CLICK SERMON LINK and look for sermon DATED OCTOBER 10, 2010. The food item in the photograph is actually CHOCOLATE... Yum….

Posted: 5 November 2010