So many of my life lessons have come from mistakes, that at times I feel like a human eraser. Instead of footprints in the sand, I leave eraser crumbs. Maybe they were meant to be my legacy, kind of like how Washington has his monument and Jefferson has his memorial. If people actually travel to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, then perhaps they would enjoy my Biggest Pile of Crumbs.
Of course, my biggest pile of crumbs has actually been in my kitchen. It seems I have a little trouble sticking to a recipe. Part of my problem is my annoyance with superfluous directions.
- Take out of oven. Serve. Have any autopsies shown that a person actually died waiting by the oven for days, watching and wondering what to do?
- Serve and Enjoy. What else are you supposed to do with it? Keep it in the pan and despise it?
- Serve naked or with whipped cream. What? This is a Christian household, for crying out loud. Oh, the dessert.
My other problem is ignoring the rule “No substitutions.” I recently studied the cookbook of a renowned bakery chef, who, in an act of extraordinary benevolence, decided to share her sacred recipes with the world. She must have attended military boot camp, because in her strict guidelines she warns not to go substituting ingredients, or “If you do, you are asking for trouble.” With shaking hands, I locked the doors and dimmed the lights, preparing to substitute several of the ingredients in her recipe for “World’s Best Pancakes.”
As I started adding things here and subtracting things there, I recalled a verse that warns of not following the rules of a “recipe”:
Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it,
but keep the commands of the LORD your God…
I was slightly concerned when the pancake batter seemed more suitable for grouting my shower tiles. After dumping it on the griddle, my concern grew exponentially with the rising of the grout/batter. Something was clearly wrong, here. My pancakes were coming to life and resembling a high school chemistry lab experiment.
My anxiety must have been obvious, for I heard my five-year-old son’s voice behind me:
“God, thank you that these pancakes turn out to be the best pancakes ever.” Soon all three of the kids were praying for the pancakes.
Now why hadn’t I thought of that? I prayed, too, for God to give me guidance to fix this mess. Or at least to fix the chipped tile grout in the shower.
I was inspired to do the unthinkable. It was a moment of mind over batter. I gathered the half-cooked pancakes, squished them all together in a heap, and dropped them in balls on the griddle. It’s too bad there were no contests that week for “Ugliest Pancakes,” for our fireplace mantel would now be decorated with a fancy blue ribbon.
I served the “pancakes,” knowing there was no way my children were going to eat these things. I sat back and cringed as they took the first bite.
“Mommy, these are the best pancakes ever!”
“Can you make these every day?”
“Can we have more?”
While devouring my “World’s Best Tile Grout Pancakes,” I realized that I had learned my lesson, and not just about following recipes.
Mistakes come when we veer off the path of God’s instructions. In the words of Cookbook Lady, “If you do, you are asking for trouble.” Only through prayer can He take our ugly results and turn them into something worthwhile.
When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you…
you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.
For the LORD your God is a merciful God…
Yes, God is truly merciful. Never underestimate the power of a prayed-for pancake.
- Take out of griddle.
- Serve with maple syrup and eraser crumbs.
- And no substitutions, please.