Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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The Gospel According to Turkey and Applesauce

November 22, 2022

Jordan Durbin

It was summer.  Late summer, but summer, nonetheless.  The season of sweet corn and cheeseburgers, lemonade, berry pies, ice cream.  I clearly remember the time of year because the look on my daughters face when I put the (very large) turkey in my grocery cart made it clear that this was not turkey season.  Duck season, perhaps?  Turkeys are for autumn or Christmas.  The end.  

I love turkey and once upon a time used to roast or smoke one of those beauties about every two weeks.  Its readily received for any meal, rather inexpensive for a growing family, and a healthy change from chicken which used to be the affordable meat option.  I think theyre pretty easy to cook, too.  Shove that bird in the oven for a few hours, flip it over once, crisp up the skin, and its a juicy, sweet, tasty treat.  But clearly, it had been a number of years since I had served up the traditional Thanksgiving bird out of season.

Mom.  (Yes, period).  Why are you buying a turkey. (Again, it was a definitely spoken period),” said the daughter.

Be . . . cause,” I dragged that word out hesitatingly.  Why was I buying a turkey?

Because I like turkey.  Its, uh, tasty, and why should we have to wait for Thanksgiving for it?  Youll be glad I bought it when this turkey is golden brown and delicious on our dinner table, even in August,” I replied as much to myself as to my shopping companion.

One Week Later

The enormous turkey was finally free of its icy preservation, and now I must cook it.  I admit to putting it off a bit, but once it was in the oven the amazing smell affirmed that it was the right decision.  In the meantime, between purchase and roasting of said bird, a giant bushel of apples had come into my possession through a generous friend.  As the saying goes, when life hands you apples, make applesauce . . . or something like that.  I cook my applesauce in the oven so I dont have to continuously stir it for hours until it reaches a smooth buttery-ness that I prefer.  Between the aromas of roasting fowl and spicy apples, my kitchen smelled fantastic, but I was struggling to figure out how I was going to make these odd dinner guests into a meal.

On the Other Side of Town

A new friends family had been struggling with illness for weeks.  Her husband especially had been direly ill with Covid, and our church was praying desperately for them.  I suddenly felt a prompting to ask if I could bring her food.  Please note, that I did not say dinner”, because all I had to offer were the strange companions of turkey and applesauce.  As I prayed over what to do, not wanting to seem like a super weird homeschooling mom who happened to be cleaning out her fridge, I tried to figure out if I could add something to my humble offerings.  Potatoes?  I was out.  Rice?  I dont know.  Nothing seemed quite right.  

God, I want to help, but all I have to offer is turkey and applesauce.  Its so weird!” I prayed quite loudly in my studio.

It is enough, He whispered.

I gathered up my courage and texted my friend, offering what felt like moldy loaves and overripe fishes.  I dont remember for sure, but I think there were several disclaimers of, I dont know what youll do with this,” and If its too strange, just tell me; I wont be upset”. 

She called me back within just a couple of seconds of me texting and there were tears in her voice, Jordan, I cant even tell you . . . Brian has eaten nothing for three weeks.  Nothing.  Except turkey and applesauce.”

A Prayer of Thanks

Lord, may my feet ever walk where You lead.  

Though the road be disquieting and humbling,

give me quiet, humble courage,

for there are friends along the way who need the very things that cause me to scratch my head.

You are the Lord of the Roast Turkey,

You are the King of Applesauce.

You do not call me to walk in echoing, stone lined sanctuaries,

But through grocery stores.

You havent ordained my path through stained glass palaces,

But to farmers markets.

You havent led me to grandiose halls,

But in steamy kitchens.

Even in the mundane,

The common work of roasting and rendering,

You prepare a table before me

And line it with friends

Who delight alongside me that

You are the God of Turkey and Applesauce.

Featured image is courtesy of Jordan Durbin and used with her kind permission for Cultivating.


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  1. Carolyn says:

    This brought the tears… Thank you for beautifully writing up this story to share with us, Jordan – my heart needed these words today!

  2. That he is “Lord of the Roast Turkey” and “King of the Applesauce” means he is God of so many things I overlook and brush by. Thank you for paying attention to the holy in the ordinary, Jordan!

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