[Author’s note: this was originally published in the Hearthstone Community Church newsletter, 01/2014]
My husband says of my cooking that I am something fierce that happens to the kitchen, like a storm. He is much more orderly than I am and enjoys cooking, not just for the feasts, but for everyday. He enjoys the challenge and the creativity of cooking and he likes the kitchen to be neat and ready for the next meal.
I get caught up in the passion and the ritual of cooking and I’m always a little surprised at the aftermath. I like cooking for feasts, for rituals, for magic, maybe a different magic. Left to my own devices, as I was for many years before he came, I rarely have the energy for everyday cooking. If I could peel a lid off and stick a spoon in it, I’d call it dinner. I always had plenty of empty yogurt cups for storing things.
Before he came I held life together in an open space with strict rules, so necessary to balance my creative chaos. He came and built me a perfect sanctuary, within which I have had to learn to let go.
Together we have created a space that is warm and nurturing and evolving.
It’s our changes that have allowed us to share this space and our differences that make us a complement.
In the passion of my youth I tackled many things, made few compromises, raised my voice. I carried signs, made speeches, spent hours volunteering. I cut away at the things that were wrong and I sought out something that was clear and pure. It is, I think, important for the energy of youth to be available for those activities. I’m satisfied that I poured myself out on those causes.
But I have lived long enough to have watched arcs of change and relationship, to see value in things in a way that takes time to see. I have lost things I never thought I couldn’t get back and I have let go of things that I thought I would never live without.
And I have changed. Now, I not only make many compromises, I have learned to wield compromise like a weapon, like a lever, like an engine, like the power of a river. Where my words used to fly like arrows, I have learned how to feel the weight of silence in my own body the way that an athlete feels the weight and balance of a physical object, without hurling it at all.
Looking at our community over these decades under the many pressures and changes in the world I come to believe that it’s important to “lose some,” to let things evolve, allow people to succeed and to fail, to believe in one’s own unique value so comfortably that it is not necessary to compete, but it is necessary to unite.
There are some things more important to preserve than the moment. There are accomplishments more important than winning. It turns out that my many sprints were a part of a marathon that I couldn’t see. Our many paths are a part of a great migration.
And now I see in our community the opportunity for stability, for a sanctuary within which we grow and evolve.
At the heart of it, I am still, in my way, driven by passion, caught up in magic and not always aware of all sides. But that isn’t all that I bring to my path.
There are many kinds of work in the world and many ways to accomplish it.
For this new year I hope for us, growth and challenge, friendship and accomplishment, individual journeys and coming together.
To each their own kitchen and to us all the great feast together.