Life is weird.
I just wanted to write that sentence to see if I really meant it. (Insert serious pondering here.)
Yep. Life is weird.
Stuff happens. Good stuff, bad stuff, stuff that really stumps my understanding.
I don’t understand why good things happen any more than I understand why bad things happen. It’s easy to mourn the bad things and question God’s reasoning. Yet, how many times do we raise our hands to the heavens when something good happens and ask, “Why me????? What did I ever do in my life to deserve a moment like this?”
Over the past few years I have become keenly aware of “mansion moments”. That’s my new term for when I experience an event that is so wonderful I feel that my heart will burst with joy. Often I feel this kind of immense joy when I see my two grandsons. I look at their beautiful faces and am overcome with gratitude for the blessing of being a grandmother. Sometimes I have mansion moments while simply looking at the sky or a favorite tree in my back yard or seeing the details in a single flower.
This past Sunday the children in our church put on their yearly Primary program. Primary is the term that Mormons use for the children’s organization for ages 3-11. Generally each child has a small part to recite and there are always several songs which are sung by all of the children together.
This year, our Primary chorister arranged for about 7 or 8 girls, ages 9-11, to sing a very pretty song about choices. I was immediately drawn into the song from the first note. There were two girls who had solos; such beautiful voices. When the chorus began, the sound caused me a quick intake of breath, an immediate reaction to the fact that these young girls were now singing in parts, altos and sopranos in perfect harmony. I watched and listened intently, so grateful for being able to experience that incredible moment.
At the end of the program, the children sang the first verse of one our well-known hymns. When it was time for the chorus, one half of the children and their teachers sang a counter-point to the chorus. Again my breath caught at the beauty of the singing. The congregation joined in for verses 2 and 3 with the children and teachers singing counter-point on the chorus. I got all choked up and had to stop singing.
It may sound silly, but I get all teary-eyed when I see or hear beautiful, meaningful things. I feel such gratitude for getting to experience good things in life. I’m a regular person, nothing special; simply a rank and file kind of person. Certainly I have my share of challenges and trials and lots of things that cause me to wonder exactly what is going on in God’s mind when it comes to certain events in my life. But mixed in with the hard things, I have found reasons to wonder at why I get to experience good things, too. On Sunday I marveled and felt so blessed that I could witness the singing at church and I found myself wondering how it came to be that God had given me that opportunity.
If you are wondering how it is that I am going to tie all of this to a recipe for sweet potatoes, you are not alone. I am wondering the same thing. Maybe the best way to explain it is to say that yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about this recipe. I was telling her about the ingredients–butter, honey, allspice, and bay leaves. When I said bay leaves, she shot a quick look at me as though I had lost my mind. “Bay leaves?” she asked, almost disbelieving.
“Yea, weird. I thought the same thing,” I said. “But the picture in the magazine looked so great that I knew I had to trust the recipe.”
There’s the metaphor for life. Trust the recipe, even if the ingredients seem strange. Trust that life is enriched with both good things and bad things and that when mixed together, something great will come out of it. Sweet things will taste sweeter, savory things will add interest. At the end of the day the recipe will have worked to make us whole, complete, understanding and appreciating the complexity of a life with honey and bay leaves in the same dish.
Spiced Honey-Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 3-4 dried bay leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground all spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
- Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, bring honey, butter, bay leaves, allspice, salt, and pepper to a simmer.
- Pour mixture over potatoes and bake until tender and glazed, about 20 minutes. Flip potatoes halfway through cooking. Remove bay leaves before serving.
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