The actual activity was something I have only dreamed of, so that fed my soul down to the core!
But there was also the symbolic nature of it that touched me so deeply, and will forever be ingrained in my thoughts and emotions.
Down the road from where we are staying here in Tuscany is a family chateau, working vineyard and olive grove. It has belonged to the family for nearly 600 years, but in recent history, one hundred of those years the estate was abandoned and in disrepair.
In the 90's, the Italian family decided it was time to reclaim their heritage, so moved in and began restoring and renovating.
Twenty years later, they have brought back to life this beautiful place...though not to new world standards, but in keeping with their family history and the old world that it began in.
Of course there are modern conveniences, but you actually feel a sense of what it was like all those years ago, and the heart and soul of the family who first began it.
This is Fiona, not a family member (originally from Scotland, but married an Italian and never went back!). But she works for them, giving on-site cooking classes a few days a week.
She spent three hours with us in the original kitchen of the chateau, teaching us and guiding us in a most wonderful cooking experience!
All the ingredients had been laid out and prepared for us before we arrived. We listened carefully to her instruction and followed step by step, where she was leading us.
I was truly experiencing bliss working in this old world kitchen! Yes, I'm using an electric mixer, BUT! I was standing on a floor that's been there nearly 600 years, looking up at shelves that were built centuries ago, standing at a counter where countless cooks, maids, servants and perhaps even children have stood.
The sense of history was so near to the surface.
And there must've been something a bit magical about the kitchen as EVEN DAVE was cooking!
Among other dishes, we made homemade gnocchi. Yes, those are mine...I never would've imagined making those!
Fresh asparagus bought at the market that morning, went into a dish along with the gnocchi, a process guided by Fiona, but mostly left to our hands.
There was something so rich about being together, working together, doing something so beautiful and of value. I seriously wanted to break out in a little happy dance at times because it was just THAT fun and meaningful!!!
After finishing the preparations and plating, it was time to sit down at the centuries old table, and enjoy the meal together.
How I loved sharing it with everyone, but of course, especially Dave - particularly since he'd been in the kitchen with me all those hours!
As we sat together, enjoying the meal, it was as if I'd been transported to heaven for those moments.
We'd been guided and taught.
We were given responsibility.
We experienced the joy of fellowship in the process of working together, making mistakes, learning and laughing.
And in the end, at the leading of our teacher, we were led to a banqueting table...the culmination of all that we'd experienced.
And it was there the symbolism met me. We were in the middle of what our lives are like right now - working together, being led, experiencing trial and error, joy and laughter.
As we sat at the table, I thought, "This is where I'm headed!!"
One day I'll sit at the banqueting table in heaven, with the greatest "teacher", the King of Kings!
Around the table will be all those who labored with me on earth.
And there we will join together in the greatest celebration of our lives!
Worship, praise, and giving honor to the One who sits on the throne.
How I look forward to that day!!
And how thankful I am for glimpses of it here on earth.