Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup, and an Opportunity to Experience True Joy in Servitude

Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup |

My husband and I rang in the New Year with a real “Pop!” and “Snap!”, though not in the celebratory way that you might expect.

The Sunday before New Year’s Eve, my husband decided that it would be as good a time as ever to try to fix the slow drip we had in our bathroom sink, and so we both threw ourselves into the job, he as “plumber” and me as “assistant”.

The job itself was a struggle, and before we began, I had my own reservations about working on the project that day for some reason.

Call it a woman’s intuition…

It took almost all of the afternoon for us to get the job done, between running over to the local hardware store for a new faucet setup, to actually removing the old, horribly-rusted-underneath-it-all fixture; but finally, around six o’clock that evening, it was finished and beautiful, and in proper working order.

As I began the cleanup in the bathroom, my husband gathered up the old faucet parts and all of the tools that he used for his job, and got up to make his way into the back room in order to go through it and into the garage to put things away.

Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup |

Suddenly, a deafening sound came from that back room that sounded like a stack of porcelain plates being thrown about, or dropping and hitting the hard floor all at once, followed by a horrific howling.

“Dear God, what happened?!”, I thought.

I ran to the back room to find my husband sprawled out on the floor next to the steps, shivering and writhing in acute pain; and my first thought, as I hadn’t been witness to what had actually happened, was that he had possibly broken his back slipping off those steps, as he couldn’t really move.

After quite a horrific while went by of him simply moaning and groaning in shear agony, and my just kneeling near him trying to carefully comfort him yet not knowing what to do (do we call 911?!), he finally was able to calm himself enough to figure out that it was specifically his leg that had been badly injured.

Thank God his back was OK, but the leg was hurt enough that he wasn’t able to move it at all at that point.

And after about 45 minutes, he just barely scooted his way on his backside to the living room where he slowly propped himself up in a big chair, and I quickly jumped into the car to go to the local CVS to purchase the last pair of crutches they had so that he could at least have an eventual means of mobility.

And so we rang in 2015 in a barely mobile state.

Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup |

I have to share with you that, truly, these last three weeks have been such a reflective time for the both of us, each of us experiencing this painful physical, emotional and even spiritual “set-back” in our own unique ways.

My husband went from complete mobility to, during the first solid week, being able only to extremely slowly and painfully make his way to the bathroom, bedroom or living room chair on the crutches.

Work was missed for a week (which is never a good thing after the holidays), and work on the blog was also put on hold.

But those were just the more obvious things.

It was all the other little daily things that one doesn’t think much about that then became mine to handle, in addition to helping out my dear hubs.

While my husband would have his own hands full dealing with his physical pain and the emotional toll of suddenly not being able to participate in much of anything at all, I was handed an opportunity to experience servitude in all of its glory, and to see what I was made of in a situation like this.

Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup |

I won’t lie and say that it was easy, especially for that first week or so; but this all brought me beautifully and humbly to my knees, asking for help and strength from the One who made me.

I remember having the realization that I could try to “white knuckle” my way through this challenging time (and frankly, I didn’t know how long it would last, since this was a very severe and long-healing sprain), but I knew that wouldn’t be enough to sustain me.

What I longed for was to experience this servitude joyfully, and I mean truly, genuinely, and completely. And I had a hunch it could be done. I wanted to taste that.

I became very honest in my prayer that I didn’t have the strength, and that I was struggling to maintain positivity. There were times when all of the combined tasks just seemed to much for me to handle.

So I asked for help in those areas, help in not only feeling a temporary ability to cope, but a solid, lasting change in my perspective, a desire to truly practice the golden rule of doing unto others as I would have done unto myself.

And it worked.

Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup |

In these past several weeks, I have felt true joy and happiness wash over me, a peace, if you will, such that I have never experienced.

My energy has seemed boundless even when for all practical purposes it shouldn’t have been, and my desire for hope, healing and comfort for my husband has been so incredibly abundant.

I’ve always been a nurturer, but this has been an amazing experience in something much deeper, for me.

It’s not to say there aren’t moments for the both of us when we get a little discouraged at the slow process of healing, or when I feel drained and physically tired from my day and things get a little dour; but my husband and I have both chosen to move beyond it when it gets a like that.

We experience it, but then move on through it.

Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup |

We’ve decided to actively turn to our Creator and to ask for the help and understanding, and meaning, and we are yet to have our requests turned down; and we continue to learn and to discover those little golden nuggets, the little lessons, in what we’re experiencing.

Both my hubby and I are grateful that he continues to heal, albeit very slowly and steadily, and that we’ve been able to, very carefully, get back to working on The Cozy Apron together.

Learning how to find true and deep joy in challenging experiences is divinely possible, and I found that out first hand in a way that I never had in the past.

I consciously asked for it, consciously desired it, and humbly brought to my Creator that which I had to offer up, and asked for His help in “making up the difference”.

And He joyfully did.

Italian Meatball Minestrone Soup |

Serving another with joy and with genuine love is like a soothing and comforting soup; it warms from within, and it nourishes and heals both parties involved: the one receiving it, as well as the one giving it.

I’m grateful for this opportunity, for this challenging and difficult experience, because it gave me a new perspective on what it means to serve with joy and love.

I also found that I never have to go it alone, never have to “white knuckle” it, when I bring my empty little bowl to my Creator to have it filled with some good soup that’ll nourish and strengthen from within.

Taste what’s good and pass it on.


{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Teresa January 22, 2015, 9:05 am

    Thank you for your recipes and words of inspiration. It’s good to feed the belly but sometimes you have to feed the spirit too.

    • The Cozy Apron January 22, 2015, 12:32 pm

      Teresa, thank you for your lovely comment. We all need some of both types of food, for sure!

  • Linda January 23, 2015, 4:43 pm

    Ouch! Prayers for continued healing. You sure we’re missed but first and foremost one must take care of self and family. On another note this soup looks amazing!

    • The Cozy Apron January 23, 2015, 7:16 pm

      Thanks for your heart-felt comments, Linda! Truly appreciated!

  • Cheryl Wilk January 24, 2015, 6:24 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us that God has a purpose in every circumstance in our lives.

    • The Cozy Apron January 24, 2015, 4:35 pm

      Cheryl, that’s exactly right. Beautifully put! Thank you for your comments.

  • Roseanne Sabol January 30, 2015, 1:18 pm

    Dear Ingrid ~ sending healing thoughts and prayers your family’s way. I often find your words so encouraging and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us…..strangers, and yet, not really strangers.
    BTW…this soup is definitely going on my short list of “must make.” Who knows, maybe even this weekend.

    • The Cozy Apron January 30, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Dearest Roseanne, I always love receiving your comments! Thank you so very much for your healing thoughts and prayers; we’re getting better! :-) It’s certainly a slow (and still painful) process, but there’s been improvement. I must tell you, the line that you wrote, “strangers, and yet, not really strangers” stopped me in my tracks; that is so utterly true. And that is how it feels, too. Like none of us are really strangers. Beautiful. Thank you for such lovely words, Roseanne! And as for the soup, I hope you do get the chance to try it out soon, and that you and your loved ones are warmed by it!

  • Roseanne V. Sabol February 13, 2015, 1:35 pm

    Hello, Ingrid…..a quick update. Here in CT, we are heading into yet another sub-zero and snowy weekend tonight. I made this today and gosh, golly, geez and boy-howdy!! this will warm our bodies and souls. So delicious!
    And by the way, I hope your husband’s leg is continuing to heal.
    Hope it’s sunny and warm where you are.
    Sending blessings.

    • The Cozy Apron February 13, 2015, 4:30 pm

      Hi Roseanne! So glad you made this for this freezing cold weekend you’re about to have! WOW-wee!! And we’re beyond frustrated here in SoCal, as it’s about 88° to 90° here—ridiculous! So maybe we can trade one another a little of each other’s weather, and find some balance between “arctic” and “summer time”. What do ya say? :-) Thank you so much for your kind words about my husband’s leg; he is getting better, finally able to hobble around without the crutch now. It’ll be a while before he’s back to “normal”, but this is truly improvement. Please stay warm and safe!!

  • Tracee April 10, 2015, 4:14 pm

    I’m new here and have a quick question. I’ve noticed you have pre-cooked pasta and rice and don’t add them to the soup. We eat soup several times a week and I am one of those cooks who just throws whatever I have into a pot. Drives my man MAD! In the event he wants a specific soup, he needs a detailed road map and Congressional approval.

    I always add rice or pasta into the soup at the end with the fire off. I suspect you may be trying to avoid mushy rice and pasta which I understand. However, my “raised on a farm” man loves mushy. A 12 quart batch of soup lasts about two days…then I have to cook again!

    • The Cozy Apron April 11, 2015, 9:39 am

      Hi Tracee, your comments made me chuckle! Hey, there’s nothing wrong with throwing everything into the pot, so to speak, especially when your man “loves mushy”, haha! Yes, the reason that I prefer to keep the pastas, rice or quinoa in my soup recipes separate is so that 1) everyone can add their own desired amount into their bowls, and 2) that all of that good broth doesn’t get absorbed by the starches. So really, it’s preference; if your man loves mushy, and everything thrown into the pot, go for it! We just prefer keeping ’em separate. :-) Hope you try this one!

  • Deana January 22, 2016, 4:49 pm

    Hello. We are expecting a ton of snow tomorrow so undecided to make soup and came across your recipe. I CAN NOT wait to eat this. It looks delish. I however have a question so that I don’t mess this up. I normally bake my meatballs. Is it ok to do this or should I just be quiet and follow the recipe lol I Mixed the meatballs ahead of time to let the flavors incoporate but fried one up just to see how it tastes. IT WAS SOOOO GOOD! Can’t wait to try this.
    Thank you so much.
    Deana From Pa

    • The Cozy Apron January 22, 2016, 5:39 pm

      Hi Deana, you made me smile with your comments! Do you really expect me to tell you anything other than “follow my instructions/recipe”, lol?! Haha! In all seriousness, I would advise you to follow my recipe; but if you really, really want to bake your meatballs off first, feel free. 😉 Do it however you prefer! And whichever way you decide, I truly hope you enjoy this soup, and that it comforts and helps keeps you nice and toasty-warm during the snowfall!

  • Suzette March 6, 2016, 11:09 am

    I have made this four times in the past three months for my family and two additional times to deliver to friends. It is my 11 yr olds favorite soup! Thank you for sharing!

    • The Cozy Apron March 8, 2016, 2:30 pm

      Suzette, that is music to my ears—I love it when the kiddos enjoy the recipes! And I’m also honored that you’ve shared this with friends, as well—sounds like you cook with a lot of love and care, and I’m sure that all who eat your creation are blessed by that. Thank you for commenting!

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