“Choose love not in the shallows but in the deeps.” Christina Rossetti
It’s Valentine’s week and people are talking about love, and I already brought you two sets of hearts, so I better talk about the thoughts behind them if I’m ever going to. I’ve been thinking so much lately about the difference between lives looked at from far away and lives looked at up close. I don’t know why this is hitting me now and not when I was 15 like it probably hits some people, but now that I’ve seen it, I’m seeing it everywhere. It’s the difference between watching someone on TV and sitting with someone for coffee, between listening to a speaker at a conference and listening to a friend in your living room, between giving someone a run-down of your day and giving someone a run-down of your heart. Things look different from far away than they look up close. Loving from a distance, in the shallows, is usually easier, as there’s less risk involved and more control. You can craft a pretty image when you’re tucked behind a computer screen, and you can admire an idea of someone that you read about online, but when you interact with someone day in and day out, image, and all attempts at it, tend to fade away. This is one of the best things about our marriage: Tim sees me and lets me see him up close, day to day, in bank accounts and morning breath and late-night goofiness. It doesn’t have to be your spouse that you see this way; it could be your mom or your roommate or your best friend; but it’s such a gift to have someone know you in all your imperfection and to let you know them in theirs, if only to remember that all of us are, at the bottom of everything, people. All of us are in need of forgiveness and grace and of someone’s bearing with us when we don’t even see how much we need them to.
Tim and I took a totally last-minute, totally refreshing road trip last weekend to Louisville (because, you guys, we turned in the book manuscript!), where, Saturday night, we shared a celebratory meal at Proof. Around the beet ravioli I had as a starter was this wonderful carrot hay pureé that our server said involved the restaurant’s own farm’s carrots being roasted with hay and then pureéd for a rustic flavor effect. At first bite, I would have sworn it was squash, so sweet and vibrant colored, and that immediately set my mind racing with other uses for carrot pureé: pie? custard? ravioli?
So when we came back home, I pulled out the pasta maker and pulled out the bag of carrots, and this is what came of it, me pulling sheets of pasta through the crank hooked on our dining table, Tim across from me at his computer. The filling showcases that carrot purée (minus hay), which like squash or even sweet potato purée, is sweet, blessed by the natural sugars of the roasted carrots, but with a distinct carroty flavor that is both earthy and familiar. Who of us remembers the first time we had carrots? Yet when you pureé them and combine them with sauteéd shallots and stuff them into pasta, they are entirely worthy of New Thing status if anything ever was.
I so enjoyed taking these pictures of them and writing this post to tell you, the great collective of unknown people finding this post in your own bedrooms or living rooms or work desks, about it, but even sweeter was sharing them with the man who lets me know him, who cleans the house with me and balances the checkbook with me and plunges the toilet on a Tuesday afternoon. There’s not a lot of celebration and hype around that kind of everyday loving, at least not on this earth, but there’s a lot of rejoicing over it in my heart.