Our next door neighbor practically ran toward us as we were getting in the car one evening last week.
“We have some peaches for you! Welcome to the neighborhood!” And he handed us a bagful of fresh peaches from the local Sunday farmers’ market.
While John and him chatted about moving in and local happenings, I played peek-a-boo with little Isabella in his arms and smiled at 18-month Theodore on his back.
On the agenda for that weekend: making homemade, fresh, peach crisp. Having never made peach crisp before (and certainly never tried it gluten free), I decided to give it a go.
As I was peeling peach after peach into the sink, I thought about Brother Lawrence joyfully peeling potatoes for God’s glory and writing, “The time of work does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen… I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were on my knees” (The Practice of the Presence of God).
What layers of me are bruised or tough and need to be exposed? What layers am I using to hide behind? Ironically, we try to appear perfect by covering up with damaged layers. But the process of peeling away the layers and exposing our true selves reveals our tender beauty. Tender: compassionate but vulnerable.
I thought of little Isabella, gleefully playing peek-a-boo. Who, or what, do I play peek-a-boo from, only not so joyfully? It’s a scary process becoming tender, and one that often involves a game of peek-a-boo as we test out just how much we can let our true self peek through and still be accepted. It’s often easier to hide, but then no one fully knows your inner beauty.
Peel, peel, peel.
Are we willing to find peace in the work? Do we desire true community enough to risk being fully accepted because we’re truly known?
The hard work done, I mixed the topping and put the peach crisp in the oven. The result was a tasty, sugary treat that we devoured with two of our friends in one sitting.
6 cups sliced, peeled ripe peaches
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats (use gluten free oats, if desired)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (For gluten free, I used Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose baking flour, plus added 1 tsp. xanthan gum)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine peaches and granulated sugar. Transfer to a 1 1/2 to 2 quart square baking dish; set aside.
- For topping, in a medium bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. (I used my hands to mix it.)
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until peaches are tender and topping is golden.