What a trip to the supermarket in Chile taught me about spiritual food
One of my favorite memories from my trips to Chile is a visit to the supermarket. I think it was a Jumbo, or maybe a Lider. Besides the amazing variety of probiotic and yogurt drinks (think Yakult times ten), I was blown away by the bread selection.
I’ve never seen so many varieties of rolls, even in our largest American bakeries. This isn’t a selection of pastries and cakes and donuts and loaves of bread and rolls, this is JUST rolls. Rolls in every possible variety. Bread for every meal. Daily bread for Chileno families.
All those varieties of daily bread became a lesson in faith for me, one that hit home again when I started my first round of edits for SANTIAGO SOL.
Daily bread comes in all shapes, sizes, flavors, and varieties. Our spiritual “daily bread” is similar, but we aren’t always aware of that.
When I went to Chile I was caught in a spiritual mindset that said “my way or the highway.” I’d been indoctrinated into a specific style of worship and spiritual study. Any other shape, size, or flavor seemed wrong. To bring it back to the bread analogy, I approved of one shape, one size, one flavor of spiritual bread, and that was all.
After I came home, that mental image of all those varieties of bread stuck with me as I returned to my life. As things do, my life changed. My perceptions, my understanding, my relationship with God evolved.
My daily bread changed. The ways I encountered Jesus changed. The ways I interacted with God changed. But it was still my daily bread, my spiritual sustenance.
I wrote SANTIAGO SOL in response to Pelican Book Group’s call for submissions to the Passport to RomanceTM collection. When SANTIAGO SOL was accepted for
publication and I received my first round of edits, my amazing, awesome editors pointed out my “bread prejudice” and asked me to clear it up in my story. They were right. I’d written the story before I learned my bread lesson. I was happy to make the requested changes, and in so doing, to acknowledge and recognize the changes that had taken place in my heart.
The takeaway? Bread, in and of itself, is really quite simple. Yeast, flour, water. Maybe a little milk, or some sugar, or salt. What you do with the resultant combo is what makes it different, but the basic ingredients, the foundation of the bread, if you will, remain the same. So it is with our Christian traditions and cultures. One group might prefer their daily bread in a simple, plain round loaf. Another might like their daily bread in an intricate braided knot sprinkled with sesame seeds. But when it comes right down to it, if it includes the basic ingredients, it’s still spiritual food.
Niki Turner is a novelist, journalist, and blogger. Her first completed manuscript earned second place in the Touched By Love 2009 contemporary category romance contest. She has written for local newspapers, and won second place for best agriculture story at the 2013 Colorado Press Association annual convention. Currently, she is the production manager for the Rio Blanco Herald Times (theheraldtimes.com). She also blogs at In Truer Ink (nikiturner.net) and is a co-blogger at Inkwell Inspirations (inkwellinspirations.com). Niki is the Colorado Area Coordinator for ACFW and is president of the ACFW Colorado Western Slope chapter.