On the kitchen counter, my computer lays between a Dutch oven simmering on the stove and a butcher knife and cutting board. A new recipe on the screen is the centerpiece in the menagerie of measuring cups, a half-empty bottle of red wine, olive oil, and a tureen of butter. It’s 3:37pm on Saturday.
Pushing the knife through layers of a small onion, I dice in a sprint, maximizing a lull in conversation. I’m waiting for the ping that alerts me of her response to our Facebook chat. Grasping the metal handle on the wood block, I tilt the white mound sprinkled with minced garlic into the pot, over the chicken and stir while it sizzles. Steam rises up to my nostrils and fogs my glasses.
“I don’t know what you are making but it sure smells good,” H yells from the living room.
I wipe my hands on a paper towel, push my glasses back onto the bridge of my nose and read her prayer request. My friend is recovering from the flu infiltrating every head and chest in her home. We are exchanging encouragement before sundown, the beginning of Sabbath.
Opening a new tab, I read how the red ribbons of clay sediment wrap around the feet of four friends making their way through East Africa on a blogging mission. Envision my Rwandan girlfriend stirring a metal pot of beans warming on a coal burner on the dirt floor in the corner of her small house.
The red dust of Africa sticks to your heart permanently once you’ve experienced it.
I send out a tweet, share their stories on Facebook and pray — a piece of my longing goes with them.
Chopped tomatoes, sprigs of thyme and oregano lay on top as wine glugs from the bottle and into the pot. While I wait for bubbles to push their way to the surface and roll from heating up, I respond to emails from friends in the Sabbath Society who send prayer requests. In a matter of minutes, I’ve reached the tabletops of people in three continents.
And dinner brazes in the oven, like my thoughts about this week.
Suitcases lie open in the bedroom, next to piles of socks and sweaters. I’m not traveling to Africa, but Houston, where I’ll speak about expanding ministry through social networking to crowds of church planters and saints. I’ll hug the neck of my friend, the Rwandan Archbishop who paved the way for five years to raise funds for eighty orphans.
As I fold pairs of pants, I’m rehearsing what I’ll say in my talk. And suddenly, I realize — I’m living the message.
When the sun makes her descent, flames from Shabbat candles lick steam curls rising from bowls on the table. Four chins bend toward chest while H blesses the beginning of our twenty-four hour rest period. And I think about the way of trust with each spoonful.
Trust holds out her mirror to your circumstance and what you see makes you chuckle or shake your head in grief. Sometimes we worry ourselves silly about controlling the details when the details are staring us in the face. When you relinquish a death grip on the handle of the future, trust isn’t a reflection of your fear of losses but the love of Jesus staring back.
We wait for the miracle. Perhaps it’s simmering in the soup of your everyday life.