I furiously scribbled the instructions on a pad of post-its.
When a sudden situation arose on Thanksgiving morning, I found myself faced with the task of making the turkey for a dinner gathering of more than a dozen guests. I have grown immensely in my cooking abilities since moving into my own apartment, but a Thanksgiving turkey is a level to which I had not yet ventured. While I have helped prepare dishes of this grand meal in years past, making the turkey is a right of passage of which I was not yet prepared to embark. It’s a ton of pressure!
After a moment of panic realizing what I was about to do, I took a deep breath and rolled up my sleeves. With a 12-pound turkey sitting on the counter in front of me, I jumped into the task of cleaning, dressing, and seasoning the bird. I started a pot of gravy on the stove, adding veggies and herbs to the mix. Constantly referring back to my almost hieroglyphic scribbled notes, I was unsure of several aspects of the process, but I used my best judgment, and I wound up with a foil pan filled with something that actually looked pretty good. I carefully placed the turkey into the oven and returned every so often to baste it and check on the progress.
After a few hours of roasting in the oven, I pulled out an aromatic, juicy, golden brown bird! I proudly presented this dish to all the guests as they arrived, and have already been delegated this task for future Thanksgiving meals. So I guess it went well.
When tasked with a new situation and little time to prepare, I accepted the challenge and did the best that I could with what I had. When doing something that I didn’t know how to do, I used what I did know to guide my efforts.
When we face tough situations, especially those a little more intense than a turkey in need of cooking, our bodies help us rise to the challenge. We experience a fight-or-flight reaction, in which our sympathetic nervous system releases stress hormones. We become alert and very aware of the happenings around us, and we can either choose to stay and face the situation, or flee from the threat. Our Creator made our bodies in this way, to enable us to do what seems impossible – if we accept the challenge.
There are stories of heroes who lift vehicles off of people in car accidents, swim miles to shore from a shipwreck, or run into a burning building to save others. When tested, by the grace of God, we humans can do so much more than we think.
I could easily devalue my turkey ordeal as insignificant, comparing it to some of these greater feats. There will always be something more difficult, another trial more testing. But whatever seems big to us at any given moment, matters. Accepting little challenges, working through them, and gaining confidence in ourselves helps us face bigger challenges in the future.
On Thanksgiving Day, a 12-pound turkey became a big deal to me, and embracing the challenge showed me that I am even more capable than I believe. Regardless of the outcome, the process reminded me of the many blessings that God places in my life, and all of the things that I am thankful for.
We are all living wonders, capable of so much more than we can ever know.
In Joy, Monica
Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.