Thursday, November 22, 2012

Less Muscle, More Strength

Thanksgiving Day, 2012, and after only two previous days of my plan of Early Arisal (a la Hedy LaRue), I was up and writing and praying and taking the turkey out of the fridge to come to room temperature (a little trick for even cooking that I'm very glad to know), and I saw that the dishwasher had not been run last night. I put in the soap, and hooked it to the faucet (I'll know we're really done remodeling when I have a built-in dishwasher), and started it up. The coffee was done. Since the dishwasher was hooked to the faucet, I needed the sprayer for rinsing the filter holder ... and so that's what I did. And this little bit of narrative isn't going anywhere slapstick.

It's a bit Monty Python-esque to say so, but nothing happened. I mean to say, it's the first part of the morning on Thanksgiving Day, and my kitchen is not a shambles from yesterday's pre-cooking frenzy, because there wasn't one. There are also no lists or time schedules scattered around the house or in a notebook or magneted to the fridge. We'll have turkey, cranberry sauce(s), white potatoes, sweet potatoes cooked with sliced apples, green beans and mushrooms which are not a casserole and not made with canned soup because I know how to do this from scratch now, and it tastes better. We'll have Brussels sprouts with bacon and balsamic because that's a go-to dish for us now, and we love it. We'll have roasted carrots. In other words, we will feast. And it will all get done in time, and today I see something I've not noticed before.

Less muscle, more strength. That is part of what this is is, here, now. Over the last three decades (and a little more, if we're counting culinary skills sets) I've been schooling not just my head and hands, but also my heart. I know how to do this because I've done it a lot of times. Little and big, in part and as a whole, for lots of people and for a few, every day and on holidays. This is my life, here. This is my family and my friend, here, now. I didn't swear or panic or slam anything when I started the dishwasher, and I didn't moan when I got back out of bed, realizing that I needed to take the turkey out of the fridge and get my prayers and writing done before the others woke up. Less muscling of things into their places, more strength.

Of course, I'd love for all my kids to be here, now. But I have two of them, and we'll make a phone call to the one who'll come for Christmas. Of course, I'd love for my house to be in pristine condition (and for it to be sitting on a foundation and a basement and be surrounded by porches and proper overhangs), but I love the remodeling too, and I love a husband who isn't fussing at me about the dirt he knocks into the window wells and onto the floors with every jolt of the house jacks. I have prayed (and given offerings and other help) for the many I know about who are not about to have such a lovely day as I am. For those in the paths of storms and illness, for those in the anguish of poverty, depression, homelessness. I can remember other, less fortunate holidays even in my own life, and on this day, I can allow the deeply welling thanksgivings to ascend with my humble prayers for others.

See ... that's what this is. Here and now, this, just as it is ... is good. And I don't have to force a thing.

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