A few weeks ago, I had some friends over for dinner. The family is very special to me; they have a connection to my Grandmother, who was a very important person in my life. Sometimes holidays are hard for me and this family has generously included us on several occasions. I had been meaning to host them for a long time, but was always waiting for the stars to align. They meant a lot and I wanted every thing to be perfect.
I should have kept on waiting.
I worked so hard to make a nice setting and good food. Rather than sticking with old standbys, I attempted Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin. It was a bomb. I overcooked it – no sauce left in the pan and the chicken was purple from soaking in the red wine. Bluch.
But, the lesson in the meal was not in how to perfect Coq Au Vin, it was in the learning that nothing has to be, nor really can be, perfect. The missing ingredient to my dish was my sense of humor and had I realized it then, I would have joked that this meal looked like something my Grandmother would have made for their Grandmother – I have the only Jewish Grandmother who wasn’t known for her cooking. We should have ordered a pizza.
A few days later, in the retelling of the story to a friend, I had a few really juicy insights. After our call, she sent me the following story from a blog she follows (www.spendwithpennies.com). With a lighter heart (and warm laugh) I pass it on to you and raise my glass (and awareness) to good friends and good intentions. This Holiday Season, and throughout the coming year, may you accept others and yourself – and enjoy your “burned biscuits” lathered generously with sweet, creamy butter and rich, fragrant jam!
When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing…never made a face nor uttered a word about it! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.” Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides–a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!” As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship. And that’s my prayer for you today…that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal-breaker! We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship! So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.”