I recently had a friend tell me that if she had a dollar for every time I called her while I had a mouth full of food, she would be a rich woman. It’s kind of a running joke among my friends that my love for food is a little intense. It’s no secret . . . I was made to eat and to drink.
Living in Northern California has a lot of advantages, but the greatest to me is the accessibility to some of the best cuisine on the continent. Napa Valley is a short jaunt down the freeway and you better believe I make the trip anytime I have an excuse to go.
Last Spring, I found myself climbing out of the car with some girlfriends at Hess Collection, a winery off the beaten path in Napa. After an afternoon of wine tasting, a walk through the wild gardens, and a nice slow stroll through their surprisingly diverse and accomplished three-story contemporary art museum, I was thinking to myself, “God made the wine country”.
I know we can get a little controversial about the drinking of alcohol in the Christian world, but let’s be real. When we are talking about the sweat and toiling of the work that goes on in the fields, that meets the art and science of the mixing and barrels, that meets the intuition and instinct of the winemakers, we are talking about beauty. That complex, intricate, red liquid falls down into the glass with that melodic sound and I think about the thousands of years that humanity has enjoyed the fruits of their labor in the land that God gave to us all.
I look out over the hills covered in vines with the sun setting and turning them red and gold. I watch butterflies hop from flower pom to flower pom, between the rows. I feel the evening chill from the bay roll in as the light leaves the valley. I take a sip of freshly pressed olive oil or a bite of some delicately prepared produce from the farm one hundred feet away from me. I hear the quiet. I smell the soil. I wrap my sweater around myself a little tighter and I shake my head and I think again, “God made the wine country”.
I am in awe of a Creator who is thoughtful. Who said food, drink, landscape, friendship, or love had to feel so good? No one. God didn’t have to give us pleasure, but he did. He didn’t have to paint the sky or sprinkle mountains with snow or fill our head with endorphins at the smell of freshly baked bread. But he did.
Exploring bears more fruit than experience and adventure. It is a road that winds around the facets of God: who He is and what He’s done. It is a chance to see Him in new ways and to acknowledge Him as the Maker of this incredible world. That is why I think about Him when I eat a strawberry pie or sip a perfectly pulled macchiato — because He made it, and I want to see Him in it.