I finally did it. I really accomplished something. I wondered for years if I would ever be able to achieve this particular feat. Over much time, I watched others expertly triumph in this area, realizing my day of truth and opportunity would someday come. Never in a million years did I ever think that this year would be THE year. THE year I cooked a turkey by myself.
My mother and mother-in-law did not lay one hand on that huge turkey (until it was fully cooked) and I handled it solo. I touched the inside and didn’t throw up. I seasoned it as lovingly as I could muster. I followed food safety protocol. It cooked perfectly. No one was hospitalized. All enjoyed it. Except those in my family who do not eat turkey and ate the ham.
You must understand that I have self-assessed germaphobic tendencies. When it comes to “chicken juice” on the countertop, as I call it, there is no amount of bleach that comforts me. I have stopped short of buying a black light. I do need sleep after all. This turkey triumph I am describing may be full of wit but be assured that it’s not a whit. It was a whirl and what if in butterball form.
In the beginning of my cooking journey, I was relegated to assisting in low maintenance, low risk salads. However, one of the first food travesties I participated in was the dropping of a salad for Christmas. I shook it upside down, didn’t have a hold on it, and it all fell out on the kitchen floor. I was mortified. Tears were shed and I was absolutely embarrassed. My mom calmly assured me it didn’t matter. We rinsed it and re-dressed it. Then served it. No one died. I survived and lived to try something more challenging. Dessert. Then hot vegetables, graduating eventually to potatoes.
For some time, my mom-in-law and I have traded meals. As I am usually singing on Christmas Eve, I offer to take Christmas Day dinner, knowing that I’m still going to have the culinary dynamic duo of mom and mother-in-law with me. However, this year, my parents tripped the light fantastic to a hotel, leaving me with kitchen duties. No one told me ahead of time that I would have scant help figuring out how to cook this year’s turkey. Honestly, it’s a little silly after all this time that I would be paranoid about fouling the fowl. I’m a decent cook and a pretty good baker. I have experience just not with the big responsibility of a major seasonal celebratory meal.
I did phone a friend and hit the internet a few times. Breathing deeply, I put on my big girl pants, got up at 8 and started to cook. I gave it a whirl. After all, what was the worst that could happen? Food poisoning? Ordering pizza? Granted, we live in reasonable proximity to several hospitals and there was going to be a nurse and a former nurse present at the meal. I put the ‘what ifs’ behind me, assembled my wits about me, and made it happen.
It was about time. It was my time and after the meal was over, I felt pretty wonderful. To feed twenty people I loved and interact with them throughout the meal in a relaxed way was an absolute joy to me. Why on earth did I wait so long to grow up? I was scared. It was easier to assist my mentors than to take leadership. I was a bit lazy. There is a bit of Tom Sawyer in me. If I played dumb, then my mom would take over and I wouldn’t have any risk at all. Playing it safe was an option for far too long.
So what? What’s the big deal? Cook a turkey or don’t. You may not give a whit. But you might want to.
For years, I loved colour and I loved art. For years, I received poor marks. In Junior High, I tried really hard with limited success. I had heard from several different sources that our family might not have adequate genetics for artistic pursuits. Years later, I cornered my teacher, asking him why I got such terrible marks in something I loved so much. He replied that it was simply a case of curriculum and what was required to be taught that year. It was realism focused. No wonder I had trouble succeeding – I’m an optimist!
I spent so much time thinking I was terrible at something. For years, I allowed myself to live under an assumption that the entirety of what I loved was contained in one term or year of curriculum. It was logical at the time but so untrue. My wits and my insecurities and pre-conceived notions deceived me.
2015 Magenta Sky – Deeper, Sweeter, Stronger
Sometime after my twenties, the births of my amazing children and the loss of the “I care about what others think” mentality, I decided to give art a whirl. Songwriting was in my wheelhouse but I knew I had pictures in my heart and mind that matched those songs. Maybe even more beyond that. I started to pray and paint, paint and pray. Something wonderful happened. I found a new way to praise God and be thankful. That whirl was worth it. After all, who was it that was telling me I couldn’t do it? I guess that would be me. Silly me.
If I had spent my life solely using my wit to determine what I could or would do, I wouldn’t have done very much thus far in my life. I wouldn’t be painting regularly. I wouldn’t be songwriting. I wouldn’t have cooked that turkey. I definitely would not have continued pursuing a life of creativity. I probably wouldn’t have even started. Truthfully, it’s taken me way too long to give many things a whirl.
It’s not cavalier to give something a whirl. It’s compelled. A new beginning, exploring possibilities, having fun! I am designed to praise God and how I do that is through artistic, musical and literary forms. And I talk a lot. Quite likely too much. I sing as often as I can. I write excessively.
It’s not about being good at something. It’s about giving praise where praise is due which is not going to be in the mirror. I am very aware that I have no logical reason to be an artist outside of God’s calling on my life. This is who I am because I have been lovingly designed and called. That’s what makes my heart whirl. I don’t deserve it, it’s a gift to me. It’s the gift that I’ve been given that I give back to God every day in thanks and leaps of faith. I love staying up late at night while my family is sleeping. Typing in my jammies. Waking up with a song in my heart. Scrubbing bits of acrylic paint off my hardwood floor because I was too lazy to find a cloth to put under my easel. I love saying the word “easel”. How cool is that? God uncovered the desires of my heart, chipped away at my false ideas and pretenses. Patiently and gently waiting for me to be brave enough to give it a whirl. I live in deep gratitude and thanks when I choose to do so. Where on earth did we get the idea that we have to be clever or perfect to be effective? Why are we so quick to eliminate faith from the formula? That whole thing about faith not being based on human wisdom seems to escape us all too often.
So what’s the big deal? Paint a picture or don’t. Cook a turkey or don’t. Learn a new language or don’t. Start a charity or don’t. Why bother? What if we don’t give it a whirl? What’s the worst that could happen?
I think the worst is that we live a life without leaps. We may delay or miss the calling that God has on our lives. I don’t mean some ridiculous notion of grandeur. I aim to be ordinary. To live my ordinary life with my extraordinary God orchestrating all things artistic and otherwise. Allow Him to present me with surprise gifts like cotton candy sunrises and daily hugs from my children. Unwrap them in wonder. Live in joy. Walk forward no matter what. Sometimes the biggest leap one can make is in the darkest valley, where vision is blurred, emotions are raw, hearts are broken and the bravest thing you can do is take one small step.
So, give it a whirl and don’t give a whit about outcomes and opinions except where it’s truly warranted. Just start for crying out loud. You might want to start with crying out loud. I did. Sometimes I still do.
If you have an inkling in your heart, a tug at your soul, a wondering in your mind about pursuing something you may have little experience in, just give it a whirl. Why do you think they call it a leap of faith if you don’t have to leap? There’s no faith without a leap and there’s no leap without faith. Quit pride, walk away from arrogance and insecurity and run toward faith, grounded in affirmation. There may be some harm in trying but there is definitely harm in denying. Sometimes even fouls. I really am talking turkey here.
It is true…I will testify.
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
(c) 2015 01 08 Sandra Foster, Ranenpur
Wanna talk turkey about leaps of faith? I’d love to!