Months ago, I posted A Fluke Within a Mistake, an essay for a scholarship. Though I finished the essay, the different starts and pieces are still around, waiting find new homes. This is one.
The reading was about heartburn. I was a terrible cook, then, but a good eater, and I felt a keen urge to bake cookies, and to read that cookbook from cover to cover. Both urges were fulfilled in short order. I wonder how many of life’s best moments happen through mistakes and miscalculations, and the tiny seeds sown in strange places, in good faith.
So many events change us so profoundly, and the first that came to mind is the image of a snake, shedding its skin, coupled with the experience of leaving home. Then I listed all the leavings of home, and there were so many: leaving my small town for college, leaving the Midwest for so many places, each time shedding a skin but looking not terribly different from the person I was before. The adult leavings, too: leaving a profession I loved, leaving the easy ways of singlehood for marriage, leaving a good job to be closer to family, and the remarkable shedding of skin involved in childbirth and what follows. Shedding that skin left me so exposed I’m just beginning to recover after ten years.
The better question, for me, is to ask not about the myriad of leavings, but to ask when I began to come home—to come home to myself, and make a home in this world, for me and for others. This reading of a cookbook, in this odd lecture, begins that story.
The moment someone introduced me to the God who delights in the creation like a chef cooking for her best friends, I recognized that God immediately. There is a place for theology, but there is a richer and wiser place for loving the entirety of the created order, lock stock and barrel, with a touch of rosemary and finished off with butter. That’s the same place where composting turns vegetable scraps into the most delicious-smelling black gold, and also the place where color combinations raise the spirit of the handspinner of wool to new heights. There is a place to sing along with Aretha Franklin. The world—this world is full to brimming with entrancing joys.