An experiment in Easter home-art becomes an object lesson for my life.
Because of my captivation with the art and craft of home-making and creating beauty in life, I have loved spending time in southern Germany, where life just seems different than it does in America. On my first visit to the area, I fell in love with women carrying baskets to pick up fresh bread at the bakery, vegetables from the veggie-stand and fruits from the fruit vendor. Another time I stayed with creative friends the week before Easter, and was especially impressed by some home-made magic in the kitchen. Using nylons to attach the leaves to eggs and onion skins for a natural dye, the lady I was staying with made the most beautiful Easter eggs I had seen. My immediate thought was, one day I would like to be like that woman. In all the particulars, at this point my life really looks nothing like hers, but this year home-dying my own Easter eggs with natural dyes was within my reach, and I decided to go for it.
The process started with creating my own food-based dyes. I chose turmeric for a bright yellow, onion skins for a deep rust (like the ones in Germany), and red cabbage for – get this – turquoise. After boiling water with some vinegar and my chosen ingredients for about 30 minutes, we set the pans outside to cool. Meanwhile we decorated boiled eggs with sprigs of cilantro, ivy, and grains of rice, held fast with clean nylon wrappings.
Once in the dye, the waiting began. You need to leave them in the dye for at least 20-30 minutes, depending on the color you want. Never having done this, I had no idea how long to wait. After 45 minutes, still not being satisfied with my hues, I put my pots back over heat – not a great idea, as boiled eggs don’t appreciate being reboiled/heated. Word to the wise – impatience and perfectionism doesn’t pay in the kitchen.
My biggest concern was with the “turqoise” cabbage eggs. They didn’t seem to be changing color at all. No matter how long I waited, they appeared a very pale pink. After attempting the reboil to no effect, I gave up and took them out of the dye. And an amazing transformation took place within seconds of leaving that cabbage-y environment. One moment they were a pasty pink, and the next changing before my eyes to the promised blue.
To say I was excited would be an understatement. There’s something about a surprise transformation that defies descriptive adjectives.
Looking at those barely pink eggs, my thoughts went something like this: “I think that website made a mistake. They didn’t know what they were talking about. Maybe I didn’t use enough cabbage. Maybe I didn’t use enough vinegar. Oh well, it is what it is.”
I think I might be a pale pink egg.
Here I am, sitting in hot water, waiting for something to happen that isn’t happening. And I’m impatient. I’ve heard all kinds of promises of who God is, of who I am in Christ, of who I’m meant to be and what I’m capable of. And I don’t really see it. Have I been lied to? Was I given wrong information? I don’t want to believe that, so I blame myself and turn up the heat. I think I need to try harder, or do more.
Is it possible that everything is exactly as God said? Is it possible that transformation could take me by surprise? That to myself I look like a pale pink egg, but everything is already in place for me to be exactly who I’m meant to be? Is it time to step out by faith and give it a go?
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed….But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:18-19,25
A final transformation: Not only did I have my promised blue eggs, but the cabbage became a tasty bean and veggie soup. The rejected cabbage dye becomes something life-giving? I think there’s another life lesson in there too…
My information source for natural dyed eggs: Click here.