Beef Wellington Hacked

Waiting isn’t easy, whether it is for those test results to come back, waiting on direction for a difficult decision or waiting for answers.  There is something about waiting that makes us feel like we’re standing over a set table and the food is getting cold with each second and why won’t everyone just show up when we’ve already called three times?!

Waiting doesn’t bring out the best in us.  It turns us inside out like a garment and exposes all of our rough edges, our unfinished sides, our untrimmed threads.  We can seem like such good and even holy people until we’re asked to wait.

I enjoy watching cooking shows.  Not the kind where people calmly put together Beef Wellington in their spotless kitchens but the ones where there are time limits, mystery ingredients, competition.  It keeps it interesting.  I like when people are forced to improvise, to modify, to sweat and still produce something beautiful.  There is something more captivating about beauty when it doesn’t emerge from a perfectly controlled and tranquil environment.  When something stunning shows up in the midst of flurry and flour flying and oil spraying and last minute changes and then sits so calmly on its bed of sauce smeared in a wine shaped arc, it gives us hope that it in our flurry and flying and improvisation and sweat that we too can end up with something beautiful.

But sometimes in the hurry, things go awry.  The meat usually.  It isn’t cooking the way they want.  And as the clock ticks down, out come the knives and the chefs invariably start hacking a bigger portion of meat into little pieces, the juices spilling out on the cutting board, seeping away.  They say, “I didn’t want to serve raw meat to the judges” and the critique usually is, “Your meat ended up dry.  And it really doesn’t look appealing at all.”

Most of the time, the clocks we chase are our own, made of our own expectations or hurry or unwillingness to sit and wait with the hard things.  We take what is cooking beautifully, what has been nicely seared to keep the juices in and we start to hack it, watching the juices seep out.  We pan fry to hurry it up because raw is intolerable.  In our haste we overcook the thing.  We lose what we had worked so hard for.  We lose what could have been beautiful.

Can we hold in tension a belief that beauty can be born of flurry but that much of our hurry is born of us and our own impatience?  If so, we may find a calmness, a tranquility and, with fingers flying or stilled, the hope that all things are made beautiful in His time.



Character, Schmaracter… Oh wait…

My words on waiting are coming back to haunt me.

I said I wanted challenge to change me, reshape me, rename me.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

I was serious, yes indeed, but I thought I had an understanding of the rules of the game, the parameters of waiting in this case.

I didn’t anticipate recovery being far worse than what led me to surgery in the first place.  And maybe that is the whole point.  I can trust and try to press in when things seem out of hand.  But what about when they are really out of hand?  What about those days where despair and discouragement spread a sticky layer over everything.  Do I still value character then or do I just want relief?

It has been one month since my surgery.  One month in bed.  One enduring headache of Guinness Record proportions.  Two failed blood patches.  No solution other than lay down as much as you can and pray it gets better.

If you had told me I was going to spend a month in bed, I would have come up with a plan.  A reading list.  A writing list.  A stocked freezer and piles of clean sheets and podcasts and a “Deep Things of the Soul That I Never Quite Get To” List.  Boy, I would have made this time count if I had known.

But I didn’t know.  And my brain isn’t very clear.  Reading hurts my eyes.  My sentences come out tangled.  The only things in my freezer now are pizza and chicken nuggets.  I keep diving below the surface and coming up empty.

The month has felt like a waste.  All the things I could have done and I have just lain here.  The best moments of productivity have involved drawing renditions of Lego creations or squeezing as many smiley fire trucks on one 8 ½ x 11 sheet as possible, reading stories, singing some toddler songs with feeble actions.

But maybe, between the sheets and on the couch as dust collects around me, I am discovering some things.  Worth isn’t in productivity perhaps.  Sometimes it is okay to need help.  God isn’t impressed with our efforts.  Maybe these things will shape my character once I can get up and walk away from this.  Perhaps they are shaping me even now.

Maybe once my head is clear and my eyes are open I’ll catch things that have been simmering unnoticed.

And just maybe I won’t walk away with life lessons neatly packaged.  This may never make sense.  And that is okay too.

On Facebook the other day, someone posted this image and it as silly as it sounds, it has stayed with me.

You never know how close you are.. Never give up on your dreams!








So today I wait and slowly digest the words: “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.”  And I press on, in a lying down sort of way.  I won’t give up one day too soon.



On Walking With A Limp

I have injured my knee.  It has been two long months now and it is still bugging me, still restricting my movement and cramping my style.  Two doctors have said it is a torn meniscus.  That means that I’ve torn the cartilage that cushions the bones as the joint moves.  This also means that my exercise programs with words in the titles like, say, Extreme, Insane and Asylum are o.u.t.  Bummer.

I now carefully measure my steps, maximize trips up and down stairs, ask my son for help getting things that are a few feet away so I don’t have to get up.  I’ve packed away my cute boots with the heels for the silly ones that were supposed to be for the yard.

I’ve been on a waiting list to get on the waiting list for a specialist appointment to get on a waiting list for surgery.  At least that’s how I think it works.  Just this week, there was finally a cancellation and I actually have an appointment.  All I know is that the word waiting keeps popping up.

Ah, yes, waiting.  My life’s theme.  You’d think I’d be good at it by now.  I should know how empty hands make the holding sweeter.

No matter how much I wrestle with waiting, it seems to catch me off guard, having the upper hand, the swifter moves.  It evades my attempts to understand it, to master it, to simply sit still.

I try it all.  “You aren’t fair, Waiting.  I didn’t ask for you.  Go away.”

“Now look here, Waiting.  I’m in charge.  Here’s my plan and it doesn’t include you.  Now go!”

Ask me how well this has worked for me.

The answer: it hasn’t.

The irony of my impatience with the process of learning patience is not lost on me.

With this injury, I walk differently, limping, tentative.  I sleep differently, waking often when I stretch my leg too far or bend it too much.  My muscles are atrophying, my resistance has gone down.  I have redefined exertion, rest.  I’ve had to reframe everything from my exercise plans to my wardrobe.

And isn’t that the way it is when we wait?  We have to reframe all things.  Our expectations, our capacities, our priorities.

I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t want to simply escape the dreaded wait and appease my impatience.  I want to wrestle, not as someone struggling against struggle;  I want to fight until my character changes, to grab ahold of the hardship and demand that it change me, rename me, then walk away.  Limping but new.

Exciting update: I called the office this week just as a cancellation came in and got an appointment for the same week.  When I saw the surgeon, he told me he could fit me in the next week for surgery since one patient wouldn’t need the full time allotted to them.  Yay God!  Next week it is!