Mashed Potatoes & Spiritual Lessons
We had a few people over for dinner on Friday. I made my favorite dish: my grandmother's pot roast meatloaf. The one dish I'm the most confident about! Steve thought it might be yummy to have mashed potatoes with it. He said my mom's were always good, so if I followed her recipe, it'd be great.
Note of explanation: I haven't, during any of our 10 years of marriage, made mashed potatoes before. That is a sad state of existence, isn't it?! For a time my excuse was that we lived near Steve's parents, so we'd go over there for lunch on Sundays. His mom often made mashed potatoes, so I really didn't need to make them at home. But as for the other years, I have no real reason. We just don't purchase potatoes except periodically.
So for this, my first attempt, I was really focused. Steve and I (and even Kaelyn) had worked hard to clean the house. (It needed a good cleaning, and guests truly are the only motivation for that!) The house looked good. I wanted the meal to be perfect as well. But already there had been a mishap. When I opened the bag of carrots I had purchased just the day before, they were all soft and mushy—the exact OPPOSITE of qualities you want in carrots! YUCK! How could the grocery store sell these? I fumed.
You see the state of mind I was in. I found an alternative vegetable and proceeded to tackle the potatoes. I always forget until I begin using the thing that my mixer has no real SLOW speed. The lowest speed is pretty rapid. When I first turned it on, potatoes flew out everywhere! Sigh.
To be precise, I did more than sigh. I got frustrated. So Steve offered to help. "No!" I yelled. "I'll do it myself!" I may have said some other not-so-nice things too. Not cussing but not very sweet words either. In the process I made Steve angry (rightfully so) and I made Kaelyn cry.
All the turmoil happened because I wanted to do it myself. I wanted things to be perfect, and I wanted the honor of knowing that I made it all perfect ALL BY MYSELF! As I've mentioned before in this blog, that's a struggle of mine.
I was reminded of the folly in this thinking today when Kaelyn was attempting to put something together. "Do you want me to help you?" I asked. "No," she continued to reply. I watched her struggle, and I thought about how often I struggle against other people and God, whining like a toddler, "I can do it myself!"
During communion time on Sunday night, I admitted to God: "I don't like accepting your sacrifice. I just want you to know. I'd like to try and earn perfection on my own. But I know I can't. So I accept your gift, but it's hard for me to do." I figured I might as well be honest with someone who knows my thoughts anyway, right? I needed to admit it so that I'd be reminded of my struggle. And hopefully so I'll stop struggling and starting asking for the help I need.
So the mashed potatoes were made. And eaten. And enjoyed. But no part of the day could have happened without God or Steve or Kaelyn! I love all three of you! Thanks for loving me too.