Chocolate Pear Torte

by Leslie Sann

You cannot give what you do not have.

A while ago I was traveling the hillside towns of Tuscany, Italy, which I adore for many reasons. I love the pace of life there. Food is amazing. There is an aliveness and a zest for beauty and for love. People enjoy being in relationship with themselves, each other, and with life. The hillsides are a tapestry of beauty; with vineyards woven into olive groves flowing into hillside towns of rich history, endurance and substance.

In the middle of one of these towns I experienced an amazing meal. Small portions enjoyed over the course of maybe two hours. No rush. No loud banging music prodding us out the door so the table would turn. For me time ceased to exist. All that was present was this moment of enjoyment.

Clearly I am a tourist. I don’t speak Italian. Who knows if I’ll ever be back to that part of the world again, to that town or that venue. Yet before we left, the owner gifted us with a dessert. I still remember it to this day. It was a chocolate torte laced with the most delicious, sweet, fragrant pears. Over the years I’ve tried to replicate that amazing taste sensation without success — yet.

Just now I was thinking about this exchange. Perhaps because the pears are about to come into season and I might try again. I had the awareness the owner of the restaurant did not have to extend that level of care. She already had her money. The transaction was complete. She more than likely would never see us again. There was nothing in it for her to go the extra mile.      Except that is what she chose to do.

In Italy there is joy in creating a nourishing experience for the customer, not only the food, but the care and attention extended from the staff. Remembering this experience had me wonder and I pose the following for you to ponder.

  • How does serving others contribute to yourself?
  • How would your life change if you gave for merely for the joy of it?

You cannot give what you do not have. If you give love you get to be in the loving. Whatever anybody does with what you have given is irrelevant because you’ve lived the expression of the loving, the gift you gave, whatever it was.
That woman has no idea I’m remembering her gift years and years later. And sharing the blessing of that gift with you. She gave because she wanted to. Because she chose to. What I did with her giving was up to me.

Life is whatever it is. We all live in circumstances. It’s how we relate to our circumstances that matters. Who are we going to be as we live into and through our circumstances?

At the end of our lives that’s all we are going to remember. The details will fade away. Were we victorious in bringing the best of us into our lives, regardless of our circumstances? Who we were as we journeyed the terrain, the experiences we created within ourselves and shared with others, that is what we will remember.

Yours from Planet Joy,