There’s a good reason why we call the rhythms that form our days “practices.
Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth. Deut. 11:18-21
These words aren’t to be taken lightly. God was (and still is) in the business of making things new. For the Israelites, their approaching residence in a new place would bear witness to a God who is living, active, and Holy. The only way for future generations to connect to that truth is through parents inscribing God’s word not just on their doorposts but on their children’s hearts.
Pointing to God’s character comes through the daily practices of our lives. Everything we do, should be sharing how our stories fit into God’s story. But it’s not all about the intentional “feel good” moments of interaction. There’s a good reason why we call the rhythms that form our days “practices.”
Teaching still happens in our mess ups. Sometimes those are the most profound lessons we can share.
How do we respond when someone says something that hurts us?
Where do we turn when life encounters an unexpected turn?
Do they see us cry?
How do we show our need for help?
Do they see us acknowledge when we made sinful choices and seek forgiveness?
Your Mother’s Day gathering may or may not have met your expectations. Perhaps tempers flared, arguments erupted, and words of regret were uttered.
Take heed: God is still speaking through your life. All of it. There is a reason we call our rhythms practices. This post was written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community: Come join us! https://fiveminutefriday.com/
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
This picture speaks at least that many. You see, there is much more going on here than meatloaf in a pan.
As I ponder on what to make for dinner, ideas rotate through my mind. And then….meatloaf presents itself. It’s not particularly recognized as anything fancy. Actually, it represents comfort food; we find a taste of the familiar in the midst of unpredictable change. To my family, meatloaf connects us to the woman who was known to provide comfort through her food and her actions: my husband’s grandmother.
“Granny” made the best one. In fact, one of the best testaments to her meatloaf comes through the story of it being sold at an auction for charity at a bar. (Someone bid $20 for it!)
Every time, we consumed it at our family gatherings at her home, we were reminded that it was literally shaped by love.
Her hands dug into the meat mixture; her fingers pinching the individual ingredients until they were no longer separated. The process mimicked her approach to those who graced her presence. She dug her hands into their lives. Sometimes through the gift of food. Other times, through time or financial resources. Always through hugs. Occasionally, her dining room table (and her home) became an ecumenical mix of family and visitors. Each of us became beneficiaries of intentional shaping through her hands. All of us coming to the table as individual ingredients but finding the substance which bound us together: Granny’s love.
Many of our life shaping memories are rooted in the moments at her home. Christmas ones are some of them. Trekking to her home on Christmas afternoon wasn’t always high on the list of my kids who would have preferred to stay in their pj’s playing with new gifts. And Granny would have understood. But, we also knew that our opportunities to share life with her were becoming limited.
On Easter, she would crawl on her hands and knees around her home to hide eggs in the tiniest of spaces. Even at age 95. The plastic eggs held a small amount of coins. To a child, those are gems!
Five years ago, we celebrated our last days with her. Holidays, in particular, remind you of the ways your life has been shaped by others.
Once I had add all the ingredients in the bowl, her words silently speak to me: “You have to get your hands messy.” This is not my favorite part. I have traditionally avoided physical contact resulting in foreign substances covering my body. Perhaps, it comes with my anxiety or just a personal quirk. Regardless, I am aware that it is part of the process of creating: food, art, relationships. It comes with the territory of being God’s image bearer.
Reluctantly, I do; allowing her words to come to life in my hands. Truthfully, it never turns out quite like her meatloaf. Her recipe never matched how she made it each time anyway. She said that she never really followed the recipe, she just created it from her mind. I think the results are different because hers reflected “granny” and no one can recreate that.
I bake it in her pan; the one which holds her fingerprints. The same round warped pan that found us hovering around it in her small kitchen as she cooked and talked.
As we savor the meatloaf, we remember the ways her hands shaped things: both meatloaf and people. Sharing food defined much of how Granny expressed her love for others. Souls and bodies found nourishment through her hands.
As we eat it, we are reminded of how Granny shaped our lives. And it reminds us that loving others means getting our hands messy.