Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brain Stew and Cornbread

One time when I was a kid, my parents hosted a "Hobo Party." All the attendees dressed in ratty clothes, mussed their hair, and did whatever else they could think to do to fit in with the hobo theme. It was an outdoor affair, in the fall of the year, so a big popping fire provided warmth and ambiance. There were games, a talent contest, conversation, and stew.

Every person brought a can of something--didn't matter what--and dumped it into one big pot to create Hobo Stew. I think it was a good thing that the darkness of night made it hard to see what we were eating, but surprisingly, the stew's flavor was good. Very good. I don't know if it was because I was a kid and the romance of eating my supper out of a tin can while keeping warm by a big fire overpowered my taste buds, or if the stew was really a culinary masterpiece. Either way, I enjoyed the mess.

This morning I've tried to collect my thoughts and plan my day. "Get organized" as my mother-in-law would say. It's not going so well. My brain is like one big kettle of hobo stew. Illuminated by a dim flickering of firelight, there is a green bean, a slimy piece of okra, a little round pea, a slice of carrot, some tomato, a bit of potato, something that might resemble meat, and what in the world is that floating there? humm... My efforts to get it all together is working like a giant spoon whirling around in the pot.

An assortment of circumstances, a bundle of emotions, a pound or two of problems--all dumped together and stirred create Brain Stew. Here are just a few of my ingredients.
  • Part-time temporary job unexpectedly cut short two weeks ago--thankful for the cash while it lasted
  • Car broken down and in the shop--glad I even have a car
  • No job = strain to pay for repairs--thankful for honest fairly priced mechanic
  • Need car to hunt for job--should I hunt for a job OR
  • Will deployment come for hubby soon--relieved God knows and holds the future
  • Wish for skywriting from God--need direction, instruction, and answers
  • Baby daughter home from Christmas vacation wearing engagement ring--joyous melancholy flood of conflicting emotions
  • Concern for friends with health and financial issues--thankful for friends
  • Apprehension about new year--thankful for past blessings
  • Does the wind HAVE to blow so hard!?!?! (My West Texas readers will understand)
And the list goes on. My stew pot is full and boiling, almost to the point of overflowing. Before ya know it, I may be forced to stuff cornbread in my ears to catch the drips.

I've been praying and hoping that God will clear my muddled mind so that my questions and concerns will be answered and His plan for me will be obvious. You might say I want to peer into my cooking vessel and see through distilled water all the way to the bottom of the pot. But that has not come to be.

I will admit that I'm starting to feel a bit frustrated. Why can't life be simple and easy? Why must there always be an obstacle and a challenge? Why can't everything be as clear as distilled water?
Maybe because Jesus said it wouldn't be easy.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 Or maybe it's about character building.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:2-12

Or maybe it is because a pot full of clear water and a distilled life can't prove to the world whom we serve.
We work together with God, and we beg you to make good use of God’s kindness to you.

In the Scriptures God says, “When the time came, I listened to you, and when you needed help, I came to save you.”

That time has come. This is the day for you to be saved.

We don’t want anyone to find fault with our work, and so we try hard not to cause problems. But in everything and in every way we show that we truly are God’s servants. We have always been patient, though we have had a lot of trouble, suffering, and hard times. We have been beaten, put in jail, and hurt in riots. We have worked hard and have gone without sleep or food. But we have kept ourselves pure and have been understanding, patient, and kind. The Holy Spirit has been with us, and our love has been real. We have spoken the truth, and God’s power has worked in us. In all our struggles we have said and done only what is right.

Whether we were honored or dishonored or praised or cursed, we always told the truth about ourselves. But some people said we did not. We are unknown to others, but well known to you. We seem to be dying, and yet we are still alive. We have been punished, but never killed, and we are always happy, even in times of suffering. Although we are poor, we have made many people rich. And though we own nothing, everything is ours. 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 Contemporary English Version
Distilled water doesn't have any flavor. So, I guess I'll stop stirring for a while and simply let my brain stew simmer until I can taste the deliciousness of it all.

Will somebody please pass the cornbread?



Louise Leathers said...

If we could get fat on "hobo stew" you have enough "ingredients" to qualify for biggest loser! You have my greatest admiration, little sister, for laughing with me on the phone in the midst of less than distilled water. Hey! Isn't it about time for YOU to post again!

:) Louise

Becky said...

Well, I have been missing your posts. How are things going? Good or bad we like to hear about your life.