Soybean Burgers With The Lord
For about a year and a half I lived in a small 8x30 trailer on eighty acres of land outside Cobden, Illinois. It was leant to me by some friends who preferred to winter in Florida. The trailer itself was situated at the end of a gravel road, high on a hill, with little protection from the elements. If I looked east, out one of the large living room windows, I would see the migrant worker camp at the bottom of the hill, nearly two miles away. If I looked out the west window, on an even higher hill approximately five miles away, was Bald Knob Cross; a monument erected by a former mailman to honor the Lord. I always thought this was a good place to be: somewhere between the poor and the Cross.
I moved out to Cobden in early November with the intention of using it as a quiet retreat in order to do my artwork. The only heat sources were the oven of the propane cook stove and a small electric space heater. In the days ahead, as the outside temperature began to drop, I realized these would never do. So I made a run to an antique store where I found a small potbelly stove that without too much trouble I managed to install in my borrowed dwelling.
The two winters I lived there proved to be two of the coldest winters in Southern Illinois history. The temperature plummeted into the double digits below zero, in the middle of the day, with the sun shining, and even colder at night. The Mississippi and Ohio rivers had frozen over with barges stuck in midstream. This went on for weeks at a time. My days were spent chopping wood in order to have enough for the night. Many mornings I would awaken to find the fire in my stove had gone out. Dishes were frozen into a block of ice in my dishpan and spoons frozen into half-finished cups of coffee or tea. There was one night that was so cold I actually feared for my life. I spent the night wrapped up in my sleeping bag near the wood stove. I kept the fire stoked so hot that the cast iron turned a luminescent orange while icicles inches thick formed on the opposite wall only a few feet away.
All my time there, however, was not spent in survival; for after Winter comes the Spring, and what a beautiful time that was to be there. My woodpile all of a sudden seemed bigger. I had more time and light to do my art. I also enjoyed more time out doors. There was a pond for swimming and wildflowers were springing up everywhere. I learned to identify many, studying about there medicinal uses.
No matter what the season, however, I liked to spend some time each day in prayer and meditation. On one such occasion I was sitting in my living room staring out the window in the direction of the migrant worker camp. It was a beautifully sunny day, just before dinner, and I was feeling peaceful. Just then I felt the words spring up in my heart: “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” I felt a presence with me; a good and friendly one. Earlier that day I had made some soybean burgers. I hadn’t cooked them yet but was allowing the different ingredients to flavor each other. In a playful way I responded: “Come on in Lord. I make a pretty good soybean burger.” The response was immediate: “That’s good because I make a pretty good soybean.”