"What if there are really gleaming, castellated cities hung upside down over the desert sand? What limpid lakes and cool date palms have our caravans always passed untried? Until, one by one, by the blindest of leaps, we light on the road to these places, we must stumble in darkness and hunger." ~Annie Dillard
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You want to know what stresses me out?

Call me up and nonchalantly ask me to make an egg casserole for an upcoming function. I will (surely) say “yes”, and I will smile and hang up the phone. And then when I am confident that you have also hung up, and I have checked my phone 3 or 4 times to make sure, and I am positive that no one is hiding in another room listening to me and that there are no security cameras present, I will curse you. I will loathe the day that someone thought of taking eggs and a casserole dish and some milk and some sausage and putting it all together and making it into a food that I have to prepare and others have to eat. 

It’s not nice, but it’s true.

One time last year, I had to make three egg casseroles in one week. Now, this was entirely my own fault: I said yes. I’m pretty sure I said yes out of guilt and because the other options were even more difficult than an egg casserole (grits anyone?) and because you can’t go for an entire year only bringing the really easy thing (yes, I will bring bottled water or creamer without nearly as much cursing. But after a while, that isn’t fair to the others). Nonetheless, I agreed. That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two was getting my husband involved. That’s saying nothing about his cooking skills. It is actually well-documented that he is a phenomenal cook, and he even enjoys it. Give the man a few ingredients and the run of the kitchen and he will make something delicious.

However.

Go to him panicked just before bedtime and tell him that you have to have an “egg casserole thingy” for tomorrow morning and “HELP!” and he will help you. That’s one of the many reasons why I love him. But also, he doesn’t care what it looks like when it is done—only that it is edible. That’s just the reality of who I married.

This is why I took the ugliest, brownish-greyish tinted eggs to the meeting the next morning: my wonderful husband, in his culinary creative genius, thought that cooking the eggs in goose grease sounded delicious. And it was. For all three people that were brave enough to try them. I was not among them.

Egg casserole number two was not much easier. I got a little adventurous on this one (despite searching for a recipe by typing in “easy egg casserole”) and decided to do one where I added toasted french bread to the mix. It was supposed to soak up all of the egg mixture and make a squishy yet crunchy, yummy french-toast-like food. (Sounds great, right?). All I had to do was spread the bread out on a cookie sheet, put it in the oven for a few minutes until lightly toasted, put it in the casserole dish, and pour all 4 million eggs (or so it seemed) over the top.

Have I said anything about how I always forget about food when I put it into the oven? Always? Even if there are timers involved? It is some primitive “if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist” instinct, I swear.

So, yeah, that did away with the entire loaf of bread. Luckily, hubs saved the day again and drove to the grocery store at 10:00 pm and bought another loaf. Then, because I was a puddle of anxiety all over our kitchen floor, he also toasted them for me and helped me put the thing together. 

It actually turned out well. Pretty and edible. Score.

One thing is clear: I married well.

The final casserole was much better. There were no meltdowns while making it—for me or the food—and I did it all on my own. The only thing was that my daughter came down with a stomach bug the morning that I was to deliver my masterpiece, so I wasn’t even there to enjoy my “moment”.

Sigh.

You want to know what doesn’t stress me out?

Making big decisions. Watching Project Runway. Reading enormous books that contain words like teleological and salvific and eschatological. Pulling apart intricate theories and arguments—and sometimes shifting the tectonic plates of my life a little. Coming up with new ideas. Allowing teenagers to paint my hair purple. Talking to people about God. Being the dissenting voice. Poetry. Saying what I need. Praying for people. Offering to pray for people. Letting aforementioned teenagers play with my phone without putting a password on it. Writing. Playing dodgeball. Condensing chaos into a neat, tidy little package. Asking my husband to help me with the egg casseroles.

I used to think there was something wrong with all of this. That maybe I was wired incorrectly. Or at least strangely. I mean, who in their right minds would rather write a 10 page research paper than cook something (relatively simple and uncomplicated) for some very nice people? Yes, I would. 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong anymore. I am learning who I am, and I am learning to be okay with it.

And I want to go on record right now and say that despite the previous 800 words to the contrary, I am happy to make an egg casserole for any of you at any time. I will even do it with care and love, and I will do my best not to burn it or put goose grease in it or anything like that. 

But I hope that sometime we can sit down (over egg casserole, or something else perhaps?) and talk about poetry. Or God. Or salvation or eschatology or chaos. Or that we can pray and tell each other what we need. Or maybe disagree a little, and have some fun with it.  Maybe even shift the foundations of one another’s worlds in the best of ways. And perhaps we can paint our hair purple and post all of the pictures on Instagram for the world to see. Maybe sometime we can do all of it in one sitting. 

Now wouldn’t that be fun?


1 year ago