January 10 -Making Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 (A Metaphor of Personal Development)

Sometimes the truly sweet lessons appear before our eyes without even asking. Such is the case for me one morning, as my daughter sent me a musing of hers, which came as a wonderful surprise. I asked her if I could share it with you, and I am delighted to report that she said, “Yes.” The following puts a whole new perspective on making cookies but especially on feeling your feelings for the very first...or second time!

Katy, I love you.

I decided to make chocolate chip cookies today. I pictured them in my mind, and my mouth started watering. I could just imagine serving them to my friends on the pretty plates I had picked out. I could also imagine sinking my own teeth into them. We’d all be so delighted.

I began gathering ingredients: flour, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, butter, regular sugar, chocolate chips...I knew just what I needed… the directions were right in front of me. I began mixing the flour and the baking soda and salt. Everything was nice and neat. It was hardly any trouble at all. Then I started preparing the ingredients that belonged in the next bowl — sugar, brown sugar, vanilla. It was still too easy. I barely had to think except I was doubling the recipe and had to calculate the new fractions and make sure I didn’t forget to double each item. Then came the butter. Although I had softened it a bit, it was still somewhat hard I broke it into pieces and got out my trusty blender. That’s when it got a little messy.

Pieces flew out of the bowl that was a little too small for such immediate growth as I tried to make the butter mix with the other ingredients. My hand grew red trying to hold on to the inadequate hand blender. It was really too small for such a large job, and I wondered if it would burn itself up in the process. I could almost hear it calling, “Stop. Stop. I’m tired. This is too hard.” With all my strength, I pushed it back and forth, around and around, watching the butter fight to keep itself intact. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard, was it? I thought about giving up. I had other things to do — life was calling and my two-year-old was suddenly demanding my immediate attention. I thought about scooping up the mess, throwing away the trash, and going back to life as usual. It would  have been much easier. It would have been much neater. But it would have been without chocolate chip cookies.

Somehow my vision of what this mess could turn into kept me going. Instead of emptying the messy bowl in the trash and declaring it a failure, I kept beating. I added the flour mixture a bit at a time, wondering how the bowl I had begun with would ever be able to hold it all. Slowly the neat and the messy joined together into something completely different from either alone. It took longer than I expected, but by the time I was finished, I couldn’t help but notice that the mess had all but disappeared. Sure, there were pieces here and there that had jumped ship in the middle of its creation, unwilling to be a part of the new whole, but for the most part, there was a new wonderful order in place. It was still sticky and gooey and missing its final component, but it had literally transformed into something new, filled with ready potential.

I began to get excited. It was time for the chocolate chips. More work for my already tired hand. With the bowl overfilled already, I marveled at how I could still fit more in. I folded the batter over, time and time again, watching the chips slowly find their way into new spots and crevices. Before long, it was ready. But that meant there was more work to do. I began digging into the batter and plopping nice-sized scoops onto the insulated metal tray. Once the tray was full, I placed it into the warm oven to bake, setting the timer so I wouldn’t forget to take them out.

Even before the timer rang, I peeked at the cookies. I could see them changing again. It was so exciting to watch them turn into something I could soon eat. But they weren’t ready. Had I taken them out too soon, they would have been disgusting. I had to wait. I had to be patient. Change can be slow. I tried to occupy my mind with other tasks in the meantime. Finally, it was time. I took the cookies out and laid them on top of the stove to cool for a moment. I found my metal spatula and began to scrape them off the cookie tray so I could place them on the cooling rack. It was too soon, and the first perfect cookie I touched began to sag immediately. I stepped back and waited some more.

When I returned, I found the cookies scraped off easily and tasted delicious. I had done it. I had finally done it. Now it was time to enjoy!

Postscript: So many times we begin to create something new for ourselves, knowing the beauty it will bring to our lives. But so many times we quit at the messy stage, deciding we will never achieve our goal. Next time you “make cookies” for loved ones or yourself, notice how messy the process is. Remember how much time it takes to complete just a few basic steps. And remember how deliciously it all comes together at the end. You, too, can make “chocolate chip cookies” of your life. And, no matter how messy the process is for you, know at every step along the way you are that much closer to becoming exactly what it is you want to be. Go ahead... lick your fingers. It’s okay to be a bit messy.

Are you willing to begin creating something delicious out of your life...your experiences...your “ups”...and your “downs” (remember, if you leave even one of the ingredients on the counter, what comes out of the oven just won’t be the same! )? What do you need to do first to get started? Do you have your list of important ingredients (significant life experiences)? If not, would you be willing to begin one today? Happy baking!

 

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