The kitchen is my church and the countertop is my altar.
Onions, garlic and tomatoes sizzle in oil on the stove, and the pasta is almost done boiling. I step over the plastic cups from my lower cupboard—the ones that keep Renea busy as I cook, and make me busy again later when I need to wash them.
Ants have already attacked the cutting board. A gecko goes after the discarded tomato stems. The thermometer on the wall reads 85 degrees—a bit cooler than it usually is, thanks to the rain.
“You are my strength, strength like no other. You are my hope, hope like no other. Reaches to me. In the fullness of your grace, In the power of your name, you lift me up.”
A cat meows at my feet, and my daughter pulls the cat’s furr, then joins in the whining. I place chicken bones on the cat’s plate and give Renea a cup of water.
“One thing I desire, one thing I need, to gaze upon Your beauty, and Your majesty.”
I forget the mess, the chaos of making dinner and sing along with the song on my IPod—my heart’s desire offered over a countertop of food scraps and tropical critters.
“You’re all I need.”
The pasta is done and I mix it together with the vegetables, the olive oil slipping over the noodles, spreading taste to every last bite of starch. I create what will be consumed—or dropped on the floor—in minutes, while my soul longs to be part of something that will last forever.
“Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours.”
I let go of the things this week that made me hang my head in frustration, that made me doubt what I know is true, that I got wrong even when I know what is right. I sing what I didn't always live this week, what I forgot in all the circumstances, what I have to remember to believe when all I see is the mess.
“You are faithful. Your joy is my strength.”
I look around and see how my attempt at a culinary masterpiece creates a mess in the kitchen. And most of what I do disappears into the moment. And even when I follow the recipe and clean up as I go, my best is nothing compared to His Most. But somewhere in the middle of the noodles and ants and heat and frustration and the temporal emerges the thing that lasts. I sing my adoration.
“Everything I have for your kingdom’s cause. As I walk from earth into eternity.”
And my soul turns a kitchen into a church and makes a countertop an altar to the One who is a master of turning messes into masterpieces.
photo credit, Vik Nanda