hidden glory

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A recipe for life

Ahh, yes. Recipes. What an incredibly boring blog topic...but something is better than nothing when it's almost been a month since my last post! And I did have an epiphany while following my first ever cheesecake recipe this week in preparation for a friend's wedding shower.

This cheesecake actually turned out pretty good, and there's no magical explanation. I simply followed the recipe. I realized that I really like recipes. A lot. It gives you the ingredients you need, tells you step-by-step how to make this dish and 9 times out of 10, what you're hoping to make is actually produced as the end result. If you put forth the effort to go shopping for the correct ingredients and follow directions well, you are nearly guaranteed success.

If only life could be like this! And imagine if it was. The recipe for having lots of friends:
ingredients -- high extroversion, good listening skills, $$ to go out or host gatherings, ability to relate well to many people, living in the same place for a long time
preparation time -- at least 2-5 years
*Mix all ingredients well, and continue to do so for several years. Will yield many friends.

Or maybe one for a good Monday morning:
ingredients -- lots of caffeine, good night's sleep, naturally a morning person, enjoyment of your job
preparation time -- at least 1 day
*Balance all ingredients together, starting with being a morning person, then adding good night's sleep and enjoyment of your job. To jumpstart the day, drink a few cups of coffee -- and voila! you'll have a good Monday morning.

Another for the perfect job:
ingredients -- quality education, accurate self-knowledge of gifts and limitations, good co-workers, tasks that you enjoy, the paycheck you're contented with
preparation time -- 10-20 years
*Begin by getting a good education equivalent to the job you're hoping for. Add to this the accurate self-knowledge of gifts and limitations. Then mix in a job that pays well, with good co-workers, and tasks that you enjoy -- and you will have the perfect job.

What's funny is that we all know there are no such recipes -- and yet I am consistently lured in by such promises on MSN.com or webmd. The ones I found myself reading tonight were strategies about how to successfully adjust to Daylight Savings Time that will hit us all 3 weeks earlier than usual. Webmd.com actually calls it "6 simple steps to survive daylight savings time" (link if you're as curious as me: http://www.webmd.com/).

It seems that we're all looking for recipes for life. Especially for the most complex problems or struggles. I want the "how-to" book that guarantees success. But there is no such thing! There are too many variables in life lived as a creature in a world ruled by my Creator. I am meant to live relationally, not to live out of an over-desire for "success" and being "together." Relationships are not -- and cannot be -- formulaic. There's too much involved. They cannot be reduced to ingredients with a set preparation time or production process.

I'll have to keep my enjoyment of recipes to the realm of cooking and baking. And embrace the mystery discovered by living life without a recipe.


  • Great thoughts. We all feel this way and believe this way...that there must be a recipe for success or relationships. But at least you admitted it :) It piggybacks my last post nicely. (I promise a new one is coming soon...today, perhaps.)

    By Anonymous Katherine, At 2:25 PM  

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