Saturday, May 2, 2009
I have rediscovered a love for cooking with my crockpot. Actually I've rediscovered my crockpot. It was a wedding present (26 years ago!). It has a funky orange, green and brown design that gives its era away--very retro. As my work schedule has increased, I've needed time-saving ways to cook for my family and so I pulled the old crockpot from the back of my pots and pans cabinet. It's like a treasure I forgot I had! For the past 3 months I've cooked in it at least one time a week, sometimes more. Throw a bunch of vegetables and some meat in the crockpot in the morning, and when I get home from work, wonderful smells of a tender, succulent stew are greeting me at the door.
The secret, of course, to a crock pot's success is SLOW, steady heat. When food is subjected to this kind of process, it becomes very tender and all the flavors blend together. I thought about how that also can apply to life. The processes that have broken me and made me a better more tender individual have been things that have taken a good amount of time. Being a parent is probably one of my crock pots of life. I laugh sometimes when I remember what I was like before I had children. I had lots of goals but they were pretty self-centered. Our first pregnancy was not planned. It seemed to put a big obstacle in the middle of our career plans and dreams. I was in an internship to become a marriage and family counselor and I had to stop out for awhile to have my baby.
Although I felt such awe and love for my new baby daughter at her birth, my adjustment to being a new parent was not carefree. Our baby was collicky and didn't sleep well for 5 months--so we didn't either. I felt overwhelmed at figuring out how to bathe, clothe, feed, diaper, entertain this new little life that I was responsible for. Everything in my life was contingent on this little creature!
Finally after a few months, I returned, very part time, to interning in counseling. I was worried that my time away from the practice would make my skills rusty, but I found that my counseling instincts had been sharpened as I cared for my child. I had wanted to become a better counselor, but I had actually become a better person. As I was forced to set aside my own agenda and care for another life, my heart had become more tender and I was able to see and feel things that I was too selfish to see before.
Meditating on this inspires me to have hope for similar outcomes for other areas of my life where I feel overwhelmed right now. My prayer is that I will surrender to the process God is doing in my life and come out on the other side a softer, gentler, more authentic version of myself. Maybe that's why God says WELL DONE to those tender souls who finish what He's called them to do.