On Saturdays, I’m drawn to the kitchen to create food like a fly to raw meat. This is not the norm for me. In fact, it’s downright unusual. When my kids turned into teenagers and writing became a serious endeavor, cooking dissolved into something I had to do because our stomachs hurt from hunger.
The whir of the Kitchen Aid, the ting of the timer, chocolate melting in the oven, the aroma of chicken simmering in the Crockpot — it all seems like a holy union, as if the act of cooking is saving me somehow.
It’s been four months. Four months of waiting for a departure date to London. Four months for H to wake up without a specific reason for getting dressed. Four months without an office to drive to, or people to lead, or a vision that needs strategy. Four months without a pay check. Four months of waiting for news to trickle in from London through random emails a few times a week.
Four months of living in exile leads me back to what is base to humanity. In cooking, I’m looking for some small crumb of hope in the silent mystery that currently encompasses life.
Routines are often where we find anchors to sustain the storms of life.
With every delay in the timeline for our departure, joy fueling the future becomes further depleted. Hope, once vibrant and burning with passion has become fumes, odorless and invisible.
In the uncertainty we find ourselves living in longer than seems prudent (even for the most spiritually healthy) I am reading recipes as if each ingredient is the answer for what God will not allow us to figure out.
Every heart is born with the need to accomplish and when that opportunity suddenly vanishes, hope often travels away with it. Hope leaves if we assign it definition casually.
Kneading flour, water and oil with my hands to make Challah in preparation for Sabbath is a weekly reminder that though we are born with recipes for success, the outcomes are God’s business.
While we insist on knowing details, He is steadfast about mystery.
I would be less than honest if I didn’t tell you that these golden days of finding intimate companionship with Christ in our waiting season are also accompanied by a crumbling of life as we know it.
We are fallen leaves in the hands of Jesus, praying that He won’t loosen his grip, that he’ll save us from being crushed into a million tiny untraceable pieces of humanity.
Aren’t we all dust anyway?
Faith isn’t a magic formula, of sucking it up and believing God has something better in mind just because you are suffering. No, that recipe has been passed around, overused and retired at the turn of the century. We are, many of us, still recovering from the outcomes of concoctions our well-meaning spiritual fathers dished out in the 80’s.
The mystery of Christ is more than a seven layer dip you scoop up and swallow whenever the mood strikes. He is the invisible powerful presence, unseen organisms detected through all of your senses, an unexplainable flavor satiating the hunger of life.
That is why I’m drawn to my kitchen to create and cannot explain it. And why I cook with my shoes off.