When my car breaks down and my weekend plans are ruined. And money is tight and my husband didn’t get the job we thought. When the baby is not sleeping well and things just keep piling up and there’s not quite enough of me to make it through the day. And I’m feeling lonely stuck at home and no one’s calling.
When children are dying in Syria and people are being shot in our nation’s capitol and the west is flood and fire and there are just no easy answers.
When my prayers are sounding hollow and even the Psalms are failing to comfort me. When the people I love are being hurt by people I love and my ears are filled with dissonance and try as I might I can’t quite weave a blanket of beauty and love to cover all those raw emotions and wounded souls.
Sarah Bessey lights a candle. I turn on Missy Higgins- her haunting music always speaks to my yearning- and send the kids outside with their Daddy. I preheat the oven and boil water and set about making a meal. Cutting chicken, melting butter, chopping vegetables. It’s simple, it’s rhythmic. It’s the meal I always cook for new moms, adjusted a bit for this family, who is gluten and dairy free. Chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, veggies. I can’t think too hard about the tomorrows; I’m caught up in the simple act of creation. I’m not creating art, just a meal to be consumed. Yet at this moment- overwhelmed- it seems subversive, triumphant. It is my saving grace, this desperate act of meaning in a space that seems hopelessly confused. I’m creating something for someone who just brought new life into the world. To be able to support that ultimate act of hope- the defiance of birthing a new person into being, is an honor fit for queens.
My family will probably be eating peanut butter and jelly tonight because I forgot to buy the double pack of chicken and me making two full dinners is so not happening tonight. But we’ll survive. (Actually, moment of honesty- my children love eating PB&J for dinner, or oatmeal, or any number of no-effort foods. Why do I keep cooking dinner for them again?) So I sing sad songs, sigh a little and pray with my hands, because my heart and mind are just too full. And for one moment I am connected to this family- my hands nourishing their bodies. Hoping that my food will bring the mom a little peace, the boys a little joy. Because sometimes I think too much and sometimes I want to fix everything and often the best way to muddle toward love is to forget what needs to be done for yourself and do for someone else.
Let’s get a conversation going. . . What do you do to heal the soul ache that comes when everything is wrong? Have you had the opportunity to receive from someone, and what was that like? What’s your “desperate act of creation” that creates meaning for you?