Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Living In the Kitchen

My niece moved here a few weeks ago.  She sleeps at my mother-in-law's house (2 doors down), but spends a lot of her time here.  She's learning what life looks like at the Dixon residence.  As she walked in last night, she said, "Every time I come over here, you are standing in the kitchen."  I agreed, and we sat down to dinner.  After dinner, I was back in the kitchen, and she asked on her way out, "Is your life fulfilling?"

I said "Yes" (after making a mental note of the magnitude of this question, and the cynicism dripping from her voice), rattled off something about how important it is, and then toyed with her question through the night and most of today.

Do I find my life to be fulfilling?

What is fulfilling about "living" in the kitchen?   Preparing and cleaning up after meals three times a day, 341 (365 -24 if you eat out twice a month) days of the year.  1023 times if you're really into Math...There are definitely other areas of my life that don't involve the kitchen, but it really is the biggest part of what I do.  Biggest in terms of time, and biggest in terms of mental energy!

Some people might find it fulfilling because they're really good at it, or maybe it is a form of artistic expression for them.  Others may love it, simply because they love food.

Three strikes, here.  I don't find "living" in the kitchen to be fulfilling for any of these reasons.

As time has passed, I have come to realize it is necessary for people to eat.  It is one of the few legitimate activities we engage in, as human beings.  If left to my own devices, I would graze throughout the day (almonds, cheese, apples, etc...), and quite possibly, never so much as warm something up.  Needless to say, I  LOVE eating out because it takes me out of the whole eating process!!  One of God's greatest gifts, really.  I digress...

Back to finding fulfillment in the very-necessary, food preparation responsibilities that come with being a wife and mother:

I think the highest calling in this life (and therefore, the most fulfilling) is to love our neighbor for love of God.  The people God has entrusted to me are my most important neighbors.  When I cook and clean for them, or whatever else I do to meet/ exceed their needs, I am engaged in the most important activity on the face of the earth.  Further proof that these actions are approved by God, is that they demand humility!  Most often, the only reward I receive for my efforts (besides generous praise and gratitude from my husband) are words of disapproval regarding the menu, or complaints about how long it took to put it on the table. 

There are so many things we can do in this life.  Many look fulfilling, but are not.  And just as many look unfulfilling, but are.

So, yes, my life is fulfilling.  But, that does not mean it is always comfortable or without its doubts.

Just today, I had to have an "affirmation" lunch with my husband because I'm back to feeling like I can't please anyone for very long, which always makes me think I must be doing something wrong.  However, he assured me that the fruits of my labor are to come.  In the future.  The very distant future.  At the end of our meal, he handed me a fortune cookie, and jokingly said, "Maybe your answer is in here."  It read, "Ships are safe in the harbor, but that's not what they are built for." 

My I-can-relate-anything-to-anything interpretation of that was "We can't use comfort as a sign that we are doing what we were made to do".  A ship isn't battered by waves until it is doing its job.  Just because I lack the comfort of being surrounded by people who are happy and grateful all the time, doesn't mean I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  I am.   Therefore, I am fulfilled.  Fulfillment is only possible when you know you are "the-best-version-of-yourself" and doing what you were made to do.

Yes, my life is fulfilling.  And, I am tremendously grateful to my niece for asking the question to begin with.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Dallas and her question.  Thank you for having such confidence in me that you continue to place people in my life to love and serve.  Please forgive me when I stop communicating the joy that always comes with doing Your will.  Thank you for my husband, his words of encouragement, and his belief in me.  Thank for a kitchen to work in, and a home to welcome and love those You send.  Please remain with me and all of those who struggle with their vocation, especially when it appears to be of little value to the world!  Thank you for pithy little statements in the middle of a cookie.  Thank you for all.  I love You.  Amen.


  1. I love the fortune cookie quote. you are a gifted writer and a blessing to me.

    1. Thank you, Tara. You are a blessing to me, as well. Too bad we aren't neighbors. Wait a minute...