I really like to cook. Perhaps, I haven’t always. But I generally do nowadays. Especially the cozy, comfort food that seems to encapsulate the fall and winter months. The delectable aromas simmering in a pot filling my home with rich warmness. Mmmmm. No other way to say it, just mmmmm.
I suppose it all started about four years ago when my daughter and I had to go gluten- and casein-free. The convenience-type foods, to which I had grown accustomed, were overpriced and generally unsatisfying for the GFCF diet. I quickly found, though, that with adaptations I could make relatively simple GFCF meals that could cater to the taste buds of the whole family. And the dance was on! Before you knew it, I was finding ways to change and enhance every meal I could think of! Everything became fair game!
With my ME/CFS relapse, however, my cooking has taken a back seat. Our little family has had to revert to convenience once more (read “very, very simple”), not out of preference, but merely as a coping mechanism. Every so often, however, I find myself longing yet again for the clatter of the kitchen. Like last week.
I wanted a lovely pasta dinner. I had just whipped out the ingredients and had barely started the sauce a’simmering when I realized “my work here is done.” With no gas left in the tank, I left my sauce to cook itself while I went to recline. And cook it did. A little too long actually. A bland flavor profile combined with a thickened, dehydrated sauce lead to a dinner that was simply blah. Well, we sort of ate it, but (go figure) no one wanted the leftovers.
So what to do?
A couple of days later, I googled a bit. Put some of this recipe with some of that recipe, and added what I had for what I didn’t have, and made soup. Similar to minestrone, this wonderful soup filled every corner of my home with its fulfilling aroma. (Granted, the gluten-free noodles broke down a bit, but you couldn’t beat the taste!)
My delectable Second Chance Soup.
As I was preparing my soup, I couldn’t help but think of how my pasta and sauce was being granted a second chance to shine. They had faltered miserably their first time out–poor things–but with a little refinement, and having learned from their errors, they were being allowed another opportunity to be all they were meant to be. And they passed the challenge with flying colors!
Needless to say, I couldn’t help but think about people. (With God, everything comes back to people.) How often do we allow a person one chance–just one chance–to succeed or fail with us. If he fails, we aren’t so quick to allow him to regroup, access what he learned, and give it a second go, are we? Nope. Idiot should have known better.
Or how often do we set that one person on the pinnacle of our past experiences, which may not even be a part of this current relationship? One false step and he’s a goner.
And do you know what’s the worst part? We often don’t open our hearts to allow him a place to render an honest explanation. Sure, we may “listen,” but often we have predetermined our response…and his guilt.
Not only have I been the idiot who should have know better (more times than I care to admit), but I’ve also pronounced the guilty verdict for the smallest of infractions. How dare someone fall short of perfect anyhow! The truth is, though, I’ve been wrong. When I consider that God’s word says that “love covers a multitude of sins,” I really don’t have much wiggle room.
People, who are of far more value than pasta and sauce, deserve the opportunity to shine. Perhaps they, just like my fouled-up dinner, have in them all the makings of an awesome recovery if they are only offered another chance. (Trust me, I know about learning to release them to learn from their mistakes as well, and perhaps I’ll blog about that another time.) But for the one who made a mistake and repented, forgiveness and a second chance to be all who God created him to be? Amazing! And perhaps *she says with a smile* just perhaps, this mended relationship will fill the corners of your heart with all the fragrant aromas of a richer life.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3
A final note before I go:
I couldn’t help but notice a couple of pertinent things from this scripture. First, the “day of vengeance” is set for God. We don’t have to stress ourselves over extracting vengeance along the way. God has it. Secondly, look at all those beautiful assets! Broken hearts bound. Captives set free. Comfort for mourners. Garlands for ashes. Why? So that Jesus is glorified! May He use you in all these sweet ways to bring glory to Himself.
Don’t be afraid. Serve up a heaping bowl of delicious second chances.