about writing and life and God

The real thing and no rationing

on July 3, 2013

I don’t remember wartime rationing but I do recall my auntie telling how she wanted to make an iced-over-marzipan birthday cake for me when I was one. Unfortunately, there was no marzipan in the shops but she was persuaded to buy hazelnuts as a substitute for almonds, took them home and ground them up to make a marzipan replacement. Not altogether successfully, she said ruefully. Sounds like a good try!

I remember other folk saying how exciting it was when the first bananas and oranges arrived by ship after the war.

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And how very special the sweets ration was.

Did things taste better for being rare or rationed, I wonder? And have our delight-buds become blunted by having everything available, all the year round, at our local open-all-hours supermarket?

I remember the excitement of a visit to Kano market in Northern Nigeria. I was told that here you could buy anything – from a lion to a slave, if you wanted. I think I skirted one tiny part of it but it was so huge that the story was almost believable.

My Grandmother had a saying ‘Wants never gets’. I thought it was designed to shut up demanding children and was duly undemanding in her presence!

I worry sometimes that my prayers sound like shopping lists. All those people I care about who are ill or in trouble or just in need of a bit of support or protection or what one prayer group used to call ‘God’s travelling mercies’. I hold them up like a platter of delicacies, almost inviting God to select…

And suddenly I remember Kim’s Game from Guides – and of course originally from that wonderful Kipling novel, Kim. The purpose is training in observation and memory. You lay out a tray of different items (Kim, as I recall, got precious jewels). You’re given a couple of minutes to view and memorise, then it’s covered up and you have to list what you can remember. (I think the cuddly toy version in the Generation Game was a steal from this!)

So there I am holding up my platter of precious jewels to God, asking for His care, healing, love, protection, travelling mercies whatever – and the great thing is He remembers them all. Not a single one is forgotten or overlooked. And His love is never rationed. What’s available to us is all of it.

Yet so often we settle for substitutes and second best. But why go for a bag of hazelnuts that you then have to grind up…. when you can have unlimited marzipan?


One response to “The real thing and no rationing

  1. R.Browning says:

    We used to sing a song “When he cometh, when he cometh to make up his jewels, all his jewels, precious jewels, his loved and his own …” based on Malachi 3:17. You have to using the AV though – the most you are likely to get from a modern translation is “precious possession”. (Don’t know if Kim’s precious jewels are a back reference to Malachi) The point I’m after making is – just hold yourself up, you are a precious jewel already and GoD will remember.

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