There are unexpected and even disliked ingredients in recipes. Ingredients like rice vinegar or molasses or tarragon or cayenne pepper or oat bran.
Grandpa added an egg in the family’s favorite baked squash recipe that I wouldn’t have guessed was in there. I forgot the egg once and the squash ‘stuffing’ kinda just fell apart.
Dried peppers don’t taste good on their own (at least not to most of us!) but using them can add a depth or flavor or texture enhancing the entire enjoyment of a stir fry or Mexican dish.
I was thinking about how the unexpected and not very pleasant tasting parts of life influence us. I can’t think of a single frustration, difficult person or failure that I would have willingly signed up for if I had to do a section of my life over again. I’m not great at dealing with conflict to start with.
Recently faced with a blast from the past, I took a trip down memory lane. I let my mind go back over some of the hard times in the past few years. There’s a lot of things I would have liked to change, but then I thought of something else. Because of some of the hard, bad and just plain annoying circumstances, I had to change. Now that the change is over, I can see the good in some of the hard times- not in all of them. I’ve got lots of questions unanswered.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned:
Failures taught me to be gracious and helpful to others going through similar circumstances.
Short comings led to digging deep to develop the skills I needed to grow. And to let go of things that didn’t matter so much.
Bad dates led to a lot of laughter and learning more about myself and a realization of how much I don’t know about men!
Reeling from the consequences of impulsive decisions helped me to wise up and slow down.
Times of pure desperation and heartache helped me to see God really doesn’t ever leave us or forsake us.
I wouldn’t have chosen it if I’d been given the choice. But now that those things are over, I’m thankful I’ve come through and am on the other side.
One of the biggest bright spots in my hard times: the friends who came along side me and were both sounding board and cheering section.
Last weekend, one of my dearest friends in the world and her sister gave me a very laid back, perfect birthday party. We watched movies, ate finger foods, worked on our crafts and enjoyed the most scrumptious chocolate cake ever! It was so relaxing and delightful, festive and non-stressful.
It was such a joy to talk and eat and create with these two wonderful friends. We laughed over past stories, remembered some of the hard times, counted who had moved the most and mimicked the lines from Pride and Prejudice.
Such a sweet day. It’s friends like these who help me get through the hard times and celebrate with me in the good times. And like other wiser people have observed, it’s going through the hard times together that makes the good times that much sweeter. These women know me well and love me in spite of everything. They were the ones who held me as I cried, walked a thousand walks while I talked through crazy times and sent me encouragement and perspective when life threatened to overwhelm me.
The bad times were bad, but friends made a huge difference in how I see that time in my life now.
How about you? As you look back in life, can you see how the unwanted and difficult circumstances made you stronger or added a depth to your life that you otherwise wouldn’t have had?
Did you have friends who helped you through the hard times? Are you still in touch with them?