As we all know, this past week was Thanksgiving. Since we weren’t with any extended family, my family was super laid back. It was just the four of us, and my best friend, who was unable to make it home for the holiday. How it usually works is we watch the parade in the morning, and my mom and I cook all day. If you’re not cooking, your job is to stay out of the kitchen, and do the dishes after dinner.
I enjoy cooking, but to be quite honest, trying to coordinate everything to be ready at the right time, and cook different foods at different temperatures can be frustrating, and especially stressful when there is a room full of hungry people waiting to eat dinner.
This year, I volunteered to make the dinner rolls, and two of my Grandma’s recipes: scalloped pineapple and sweet potato soufflé. Grandma’s recipes were simple enough, and turned out great, despite the fact that I had never made them before. However, the rolls were a process. The recipe I had was supposed be exactly like the bread at Texas Roadhouse, but I figured it would be slightly better, since it would have that homemade taste. I had made these at least twice, and I remembered one time it not going well, so I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out, and if there’s one thing I am not a fan of, its failure.
The first thing I had to do was boil milk, and this didn’t go well at all. I poured two cups of milk in a saucepan, and placed it on the stove over medium heat, exactly as the recipe said to do. After a few minutes, the milk started to burn. As I continued to stir, more and more burnt pieces began to float up from the bottom. I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath, and dumped out the milk. Time to start over. I measured out another two cups of milk, poured it into a clean saucepan, and this time placed it over low heat. I pulled up a chair and watched that milk extra carefully, giving it a stir every minute or so. After a couple minutes, it started to burn. Again. After taking an even deeper and more frustrated sigh than before, I decided to let the milk cool, and then strain it.
So the milk was sitting in the mixing bowl, free of any burnt particles, and the next thing I had to do was find a substitute for honey, because of course, there was no honey in the house, and I didn’t check the recipe until Wednesday night when there was no time or energy left to make a run to the store. Anyway, honey is just a liquid form of sugar, so that was easy enough to substitute. I finished mixing up the dough, kneaded it, and set it aside to rise.
These rolls take a couple hours to rise enough so that they are nice and fluffy. After about two hours, I began to roll out the dough, and shape it. Once the rolls were cut out, they needed to rise another hour. This is about the time when I started to worry again that they would not turn out right, because the last time I made them, they didn’t rise enough, and we had flat rolls for dinner. Granted they were not totally flat, they just weren’t as fluffy as they should have been. My family didn’t mind at all, but as I said before, I am not a fan of failure. Anyway, they rose quite nicely, and after checking on them halfway through baking, I was happy to see that they were nice and fluffy.
The house smelled of freshly baked bread, along with the other things that were cooking. I took the first two trays of rolls out of the oven, brushed them with butter and garlic, and upon placing them in the bread basket, I noticed something. My rolls were BURNT. The bottoms were an ugly dark brown. A frown appeared on my face, and then I realized something: these rolls are just like us.
In the same way that I had to knead the dough to make this bread, God molds us and shapes us into who we are. None of us are perfect, and though it may appear that some are, all we have to do is look inside, or, in the case of the rolls, turn them over. He didn’t make us to be perfect, we all have flaws, but that’s what makes us who we are. My last tray of rolls came out much better, as I removed them from the oven two minutes before the timer went off, but if you saw the way they were shaped, I’m sure you would agree that these rolls were far from perfect.
Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (NIV). Never forget this. He made each one of us to be who we are; we are not meant to be perfect, so we shouldn’t strive to be. We were meant to be imperfect, we were meant to have flaws, and these flaws make us who we are.