I absentmindedly stood over the stove. The spaghetti was boiling. The fragrant rich red sauce next to it was taking over the kitchen, but I could not smell it. It was not a family recipe or a rare find off the wonderful Pinterest. It was Barilla Meat sauce, to which I added dried Italian herbs, olive oil and garlic, as I usually do.
The simplicity of the meal being cooked preoccupied my mind. It was missing something, I kept telling myself. The thought would not leave and before long I was convinced that dinner was lacking, and that I should have gone the extra step to thaw out chicken or make a quick run to the grocery store down the street to buy ground turkey.
It was too late to do much about it. Tramond and Ty were on their way home and I did not have enough time to bundle T up and go to the store.
Alas! Meatless Thursday it would have to be. There is no rhyme or cuteness to Meatless Thursday. It’s simply a night, where dinner seemed lacking, missing elements from some food groups. It spelled imperfection, and as I stood over the stove, my confidence took a hit. In an attempt to rescue dinner, I opened up a box of cake mix that had been sitting in my pantry waiting for a special occasion and began preparing it.
Was this my special occasion? A moment filled with vulnerability and insecurity?
As I was preparing the cake, I heard the door open. T ran to greet them and I reluctantly accepted that dinner was what it was.
Our family sat down to eat and Ty excitedly shouted: “Ooooh spaghetti, my favorite!” My heart smiled a little.
There was little conversation at the table, always a good sign in our home. Even T was eating without objection.
I was glad. Really I was.
And suddenly everything I thought before seemed a bit foolish. How and why did I attach so much attention to what was missing, over what was served?
I had no answers. It was a learning experience though for me. Out of my insecurity came a few thoughts that I want to share with you, particularly as we gear up for the holidays:
- It’s not about the meal itself. The meal brings us together, but the focus is on the people coming together and the moments shared.
- Dinner is not a popularity contest. We may not get a pin worthy picture out of our meals, but we can create memories with the conversations that we foster at our dinner tables.
- Dinner is not about winning our families’ love, but about expressing our love for them. The things we do for our loved ones is one way we serve and say “I love you!” instead of “Did this cause you to love me”? Personally, remembering this simple thing takes a lot of pressure away.
- God is the ultimate patron at our dinner table. As we cook, let’s “do it as unto The Lord” and He knows the content of our hearts. He desires a heart that is focused on Him and seeks to serve others. As we do the mundane tasks that cause us to fret, He desires for us to place our trust in Him and be assured of His love.
Dear Friends, cook on. Clean on. Rearrange on. Whatever this day finds you doing for your family, do it well; not with worry, not with insecurity and not half-heartedly.