Stone Soup in the Modern Age


I have a group of friends who meet together every other week to engage in spiritual learning and to listen deeply to each other’s life challenges. This week we celebrated finishing a big study together by having a stone soup party. The idea of stone soup comes from an old folk story of strangers who come into a village with nothing but a pot and find themselves by the end of the story with their pot full of soup made from ingredients provided by the whole community.  I was too chicken to have the group show up with ingredients with no ability to conceive of how to put it together. So, I collected everyone’s ingredient choices ahead of time, did a little research, and wound up with a delicious Thai-inspired crab soup.

While we enjoyed the soup, our conversation meandered around like you would expect.  But most special was the time the group took to ask about the last hours my husband spent with his mother before her death, just the previous week. I reflected on what a gift it was, talking like this…having his story heard by people who care for him.  His grief needed the ears of the community to breathe and to be given validity.  I was overcome with gratitude for these people, for the space we have created to have these gatherings, and for the gift of community.

I don’t know how people do without it. I remember all of the problems trying to find a rhythm of gatherings; what to do about childcare, how frequently to meet, whom to meet with, how to keep people coming… our Stone Soup party, it was clear to me that it was worth it. One friend said that night after finishing his soup, “you know I noticed every ingredient that each person contributed and every ingredient mattered.” This reflection helped me see how we can care for each other for that very reason; every person matters. Every grief needs to be heard. Every joy needs sharing. Whether you make soup or not, community is our Stone Soup. Every person matters and what they bring makes a difference.

Do you have a Stone Soup Community? What would it take to have one? What Stone Soup stories do you have to add?

Want the recipe?

Thai Style Stone Soup

Here are the ingredients the individuals from the group provided: Lentils, broccoli, onion, potatoes, corn, hominy, mushrooms, cilantro, and crab.

Here are the ingredients I used after borrowing from 2-3 different recipes for inspiration for the base: 8 cups broth, 2 cans of coconut milk, paprika, coriander, garlic, lemon grass, and lime juice.

Garnish: lime wedges and cilantro

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