Thursday, September 9, 2010

Losing the Familiar

Yesterday was rainy and chilly, a perfect day to herald fall. Traditionally, it's the kind of weather that speaks to my inner homemaker and I'll inevitably make an Autumn Bundt Cake. It's a once or twice a year endeavor that heralds seasonal change. But I realized that my recipe box is gone, as is the bundt pan. And last night as I was lying in bed I almost cried about it.
We are home again but it's the familiar that is missing and that's really what I've felt sad and lost about this past month. I'm a hobbit, really, and the familiar is what has come with me through the 12 moves that have taken us to the unfamiliar and starkly challenging during the course of our marriage and adult lives. The bundt pan, the recipe box, the photo albums, the bookshelves arranged by historical time period and topic. The garden that reminded me daily that from tiny acorns mighty oaks emerge but which has laid unproductive and weed-invested all season. The familiar and routine is what's gone missing.

And the things I miss the most are silly in a way. The Bosch mixer and blender that I'd finally splurged on and used daily. Not only was it an awesome kitchen appliance, but it was a limited edition fire engine red. The irony, eh? Everyone that cooks should own such a helper.

And the wheat grinder. True Confessions: I hate white flour. I didn't love grinding our own wheat but I loved the results of fresh ground whole wheat flour in pancakes and waffles and bread and rolls and muffins. In addition we have a farming friend who gives us buckets of lovely hard white winter wheat and this year I have nothing to grind it with.

And the recipe box. Full of recipes from friends and family like Aunt Barbara and Jeanette that not only instructed us in how to make a terrific chocolate zucchini cake and southwest corn casserole but held memories of holidays spent in Texas with cousins and fourth of July cook-outs with the best of friends. Funny how a familiar card, with a friend's handwriting, can evoke times and places past and warm the day.

We are coming soon to the Feast of Succoth, where we leave our houses to make temporary structures (succoth=booths) and we move into these fragile tent-like temporary structures. We are called to come outside, outdoors, to live and put our trust in YHWH who has created the perfection of the natural world around us to delight in, to cleanse us from the world of Babylon and to draw us ever closer to a world where Mashiyach lives and tabernacles (dwells) with his people.

And perhaps therein lies the lesson. That the familiar, while comforting, can also ensnare, allow stagnation and complacency. That the Word and world of the Living God is calling us to a big old outdoor party where we feast and laugh and play for a time of completion. But we can't get there until we leave behind all that we count on, rely on, are familiar with, to adventure anew by His leading. I am placing my trust in Him, my hope in what's next. And I'm trusting that He knows my tears are not a lack of faith, but my own frailty.

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