There’s a world of good therapy in pizza crust making. You plop your dough down in the center of the pan. Then you slowly press it down and out to the edges. It takes a while. If you hurry, it tears holes into your ‘masterpiece’ that you then have to go back and pinch, pat, and patch until the hole is mended.
Better to just take it easy as you go round and round the pan, pressing out inch by inch until you reach yonder rim, slow and steady.
I am taking this pizza metaphor to my life and trying to find my way around the daily agendas with more grace and patience. I’ve decided to add to daily disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, journaling, exercise, mindfulness approach to tasks, this thing of let’s call it tenderness or gentleness…maybe patience is the old-fashioned name. Anyway, I am working my way through the day like those fingers round and round the pizza pan, from the center to the outer rim, working at being gentle.
With others certainly. It was the impatience in my voice, the swift defense, the temper bursts maybe like a sparkler instead of an all out firecracker that got my attention recently and brought me to tears.
I don’t want to be that way. To some degree all my life I’ve been impatient. Some would say that it’s the thing of as you grow older, you are more intensely who you’ve always been, for good and for bad. Others including me, would say it’s these bad, bad, naughty hormones that I have such difficulty corralling to make my world work like ‘normal’ again that is causing the problem.
But I refuse to let hormones or age best me.
I must start at the center of my life, find Jesus there, let Him lead me, cooperate with His love and patience, move outward into the day with enough Spirit to keep me going with grace that comes from His soothing words and ways, His kindness and pizazz…maybe then I’ll have a good smile to face those niggling little irritations of the day and not take it out on others or myself.
The need for the salve of gentleness, kindness, patience, all of the above, applies to self even before others. What I mean is that with God’s kindness and help, I need to apply the salve first to my life. Then I can reach out to others. Yes, the put-your-oxygen-mask-on-first. Then and only then I can help others on the plane to put theirs on.
I’ve been hard on myself a long time, tending to see most things as my fault even when it’s not. Seems like only extreme pain, illness, trial and trouble open us up to the vulnerable deal that life is…that we don’t have as much control as we think we do when we set out in the day to ‘take the bull by the horns” and getterdone…that we all need some kindness, some gentleness.
Once pain or tragedy hits, you see life differently.
You see life sacred…not something to be wrestled and jostled and hustled along, forced and pressured into this mold or that, your agenda or mine…life, precious, endlessly curious, wildly uncontained, beautiful, terror-inspiring, breath-taking.
So this lump of dough that is a fresh new day, seasoned with my gifts and my weaknesses, I’m going to let rest at the Center and then touch lightly, pressing down and outward…handle myself, others, and the day’s agenda with light touches, ever shaping gently out to the rim of the day and the world that is peculiarly my own.
My natural instinct is to push, press forward hard and fast, especially in my child-rearing days of the first phase raising 4 kids. Everyone around me was living this way too. Now raising a grandchild, I am forced by circumstances to go slower, but kinder, gentler still and that’s good…even if I still don’t like how little I get done in a day.
You too. I hope you’ll go gently through your day, giving yourself a little needed kindness, pausing to look early in the day and whenever you can into the face of Infinite Gentleness, see the smile, see the sparkle of love and humor, of perspective of calm and not disaster, waiting, ever waiting when we look into the face of God and hear His whispers…”I love you just as you are. I’m not going anywhere without you. You are Mine and I am glad about that.”
Even when He sees me lose my temper? Especially then. Love means more when it’s pressed down and outward out of weakness and failure and into something ready to hold life’s ingredients anyway. His hands pressing my life. My hands pressing my life too into a new shape each new day.
Yes, making pizza crust, slow and steady, is a balm to my storm-bent soul. Smoothing out the rough places, making whole–I like that for a job..to give myself space and time to be loved and loving, to help others do the same.
Come on, stretch that pizza!