This past two weeks of preparing meals every night has reminded me how much I love and need the act of cooking in my life.
The planning, the purchasing, the preparation, and the delivery lend substance and structure to my days and my weeks.
The planning allows me to step out of the turmoil of my daily struggle and participate in my future. I can escape from the chaos of my everyday existence and actually perceive and actuate some level of control over my life.
The purchasing allows me to take control of my destiny in terms of the ingredients that I am ingesting and presenting to my kids. It illustrates that I will not succumb to the last minute diet decisions, like McDonalds or Whataburger, that plague me in the absence of the planning, along with the guilt that usually accompanies those decisions. Furthermore, the presence of the ingredients, in other words when the planning and purchasing phases have been completed, provides me with further incentives to continue with my planning so I don’t waste the money that I spent to buy the fresh produce.
The preparation involves procedure and process, and thus lends structure to the end of my day. I have planned a menu, have purchased the required ingredients, and now must follow the process so I can achieve the end result – a delicious meal. There is a certain catharsis that avails itself in the seeding, the chopping, and the sautéing. I am soothed by following the steps that someone else has set out for me, steps that I have voluntarily chosen to follow. I am relieved that I don’t have to forge the path this time. Maybe that is why I love following recipes so much. It is really the only time I allow myself the freedom of not forging the way, of being the leader. I get to be the follower….for a change.
The delivery allows me the time to savor the time spent on the project. It lets me sit back, admire what I have done, and pat myself on the back when no one else will. It is during this time that I can savor a complete project, review what I could have done better, and then move on to the next project with no burdens, no baggage.
Meal planning for me is only a microcosm of my life: a microcosm in which I am in complete control; the full extent of the outcome is mine for the making and for the taking, the players are under my direction and no one else’s.
Yes, that is what I like about it. But, I know that approach only works in that specific microcosm. There is no way I could ever apply that to anything bigger, because I would, with certainty, screw it up.
Which is where my God comes in. He is capable of re-arranging the skewed planning, replenishing the faded produce, redirecting the misdirected preparation, and redesigning the delivery. Only He can do that.
Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me the freedom to be me. And, thank you for picking up the slack when it doesn’t go as planned.
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