Here lately, I’ve been spending more time at work, in the gym, or building relationships than I have in the kitchen. It has come to my attention that one’s health becomes more difficult to maintain as the years progress, you need more money as the years progress, and you know more people as the years progress. The only thing that stays the same is the number of hours in a day. A few weeks ago, I stood outside on the sidewalk after an evening Bible study catching up with a friend for a good while. As we talked about the interesting twists life takes and how God has a plan and only if our college selves could have seen that, she said something oh so true. “The older I get, the more people there are to keep up with, and the harder it becomes to stay on top of things.” (She might not have said that verbatim, but that was the gist).
As a (mostly sort of) extrovert, I generally like to be around people. I like to get to know people, their likes, dislikes, what invokes emotion in them, what makes them tick. While small talk isn’t my favorite, you have to start somewhere, so I’ve gotten to be not so bad at it. I like to have tons of friends and family around and usually have a more the merrier philosophy. It’s great. Except I want to maintain all of the friendships. And as I mentioned, we only get 24 hours in a day. And a big chunk of that goes to work. Then a big chunk to sleep. And then I have to go to the gym because I’ve recently learned that I’m less anxious, paranoid, sad, and flabby when I go. Shoved in between that is people. New friends, old friends, family. I cherish them all because everything is fleeting. It breaks my heart when some fall through the cracks.
But as much as I love almost everything about my life, there are moments when it’s exhausting and I need to pull away. The kitchen has been that place for me for a long time, but lately, it has become a place where I just pass through to brew some coffee, maybe scramble an egg, or throw takeout leftovers into the fridge. I started to miss my kitchen and decided to spend some quality time with it. One Tuesday evening I miraculously didn’t have anything on the calendar and I decided to skip the gym (since I went the night before and had plans to go the night after) and cook. No take out or frozen organic superfood whatever that I’ve been buying lately. Just me and some boiling water and fresh ingredients.
I decided to make something simple enough, fried rice. I boiled the rice and got to chopping onions and mushrooms and garlic. As I chopped, I felt my blood pressure calming. I went into the TRANCE. I’ve missed the trance. It’s what happens when I get so involved with cooking that the rest of the world falls away. It’s a time to think and a time to pray. It might sound crazy, but as I slice through mushrooms, it can create an otherworldly connection.
I went outside and picked some chives, reminding me that good food comes from the earth provided by God. So much of worship is realizing your proper place before the Almighty Creator and pulling food from the ground reminds me of that place–dependent. The sizzling from the pan, aromas wafting through the air, changing textures of vegetables and grains, sight of a plan coming together, and anticipation of taste of the final product remind me that I’m alive and human and very much grateful for senses and provision.
That night I was able to eat and be filled, thankful for a God who whispers through vegetables and sizzling butter.