Starting about a year ago, I have attempted to incorporate a weekly Sabbath into my life. Setting aside a day of rest and without work requires intentionality and forethought but, so far, the benefits have been wonderful. Each month I will share some of my attempts- some successful and some awkward- at engaging in this discipline.
One of my favorite things to do on the Sabbath is bake and cook. I love the ritual of making something with my hands. Chopping fresh vegetables, the curls of butternut squash skin piling up, rolling out dough on my floured butcher block counter- all of these rituals help me to slow down and pay attention.
I love my kitchen; it’s filled with natural light that delicately falls on my countertops, which can be good or bad depending on how clean my kitchen is! I connect to God through my senses. The smell, sight, and feel of cooking is restful to me, not to mention the *hopefully* delicious tastes that follow.
This past Sabbath, I made a strawberry rhubarb pie, which happens to be my husband’s favorite type of pie. We have rhubarb that grows wildly in our backyard. I enjoy the time it takes to wash and chop the rhubarb, I even like how it stains my hands red. My least favorite part is making the crust, mostly because it requires a lot of concentration and precision to make it look pretty. But even this is a part of the ritual that I love. I love that it forces me to slow, to breathe, to take my time.
Once the top of the crust is carefully placed, I use a sharp knife to cut away the excess. I cut 4 small slits on the top and finish it with an egg wash and a dusting of sugar. Once I place it in the oven, I begin to feel the contentment of creating. The hard part is over, the oven does the rest. I made something and it was good.
Creating gives us a glimpse into the pleasure that God must feel as the Creator. Whether it’s a piece of art, a set of blueprints, a garden bed, or a science experiment, it is an act of creation. The patience, the precision, the care, the creativity, it is good.
Creating can be refreshing but it can also be frustrating. Images that come to mind are the half-finished projects that pile up in the basement or the birdhouse that doesn’t turn out quite right. Last fall I attempted to make caramel apples. I read the recipe incorrectly and the proportion of caramel to cream was off; I was left with caramel goo that wouldn’t harden. I was irritated that it didn’t turn out the way I expected and frustrated that I wasted ingredients. However, the experiment actually worked out. I used the caramel sauce as a dip for the apples and other fruits instead, salvaging the ingredients, even though it was not the outcome I would have preferred.
As I thought about it, even if I couldn’t have eaten the finished product, it wouldn’t have cancelled out the enjoyment I felt in the process of creating. In our failed attempts at creating, we still get a glimpse of our Creator. Even if the outcome is not what we hope or expect, even if my pie catches fire in the oven, the process itself connects us with God, it is good.
How have you connected to God through creating something? Share your experiences below.