Playing with purpose

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

The Good of Suffering

If you are a quasi-gourmet cook like me, you will recognize yourself in this thought. A lot of my flair while cooking is the results of a “wanna-be” spirit.

I never feel more competent in the kitchen as I do when I find myself cooking with grandiose flourishing and sweeps. Just like televised Chefs do. But, these times can also be the times that I cook my worst. Sometimes the meal is not a complete disaster. There are times like today when its just a few components of the meal.

I am realizing this as I prepare to warm the last of an amazing stew I made from scratch. Having eaten enough of this stew over the week, I am determinedly removing the fainted onions and prettily sliced garlic before heating the remainder.

I like garlic, I really do. But I forget sometimes why most chefs only bruise the garlic or slice it paper thin. When I cut my garlic like I do my onions, they will not disintegrate during the meal prep. The onions can be stir-fried into onion heaven, but not the garlic. And, I just can’t make myself chump down on an intact piece of garlic. I guess I don’t believe in vampires enough.

So, I’m talking to each piece I discover in the cold stew. And I am amused and apologetic to my inner chef. Then I say to myself, “this, is why you cannot mimic the world. It takes you out of the zone you know. The place that has demonstrated its reliability.” It is good I thought, that errors are so readily exposed. I felt more competent with each piece of garlic I extracted. Satisfied, I placed the pot over the fire.

Then the stew began to heat up.

Each time I checked the progress of my stew. Each time I stirred the pot, I would find another slice of garlic. When the pot was at its hottest, I found even larger slices of garlic. Even as I dished the stew into my bowl and adorned it with crackers; I found a few more slices.

I realized as I begin to eat, it was not my casual and comfortable meandering through the cold stew that had removed the bulk of the garlic. The heat had allowed me to retrieve the most. It was the heat that separated the ingredients I wanted to eat; from the ones I could not, should not, and would not eat. That final sweep of the heated stew rescued my meal, allowed me to benefit from its nutrition and enjoy its marvelous taste.

This is one of those parables and lessons whose borders expand in my life. It allows me an appreciation for the difficulty and suffering of living.

GOD uses heat as much as the warmth and the cool to extract the best for me. GOD uses the curse and the blessing to benefit me. The heat tends to be more effective because it so amply separates the good from the bad.

I am working hard to remember. GOD loves me! When I receive and reciprocate; all situations work for my Good! All.

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