Monday, April 20, 2009

The Winning Combination

Last night was pizza night. Normally Friday night is the night we make homemade pizza, but we moved it over a couple nights due to other events happening, as well as the fact that you have to be in a creative, fun loving, happy mood when you make pizza at our house.

First, my husband Bill puts on some Michale Buble or Tony Bennett and the music gets us feeling light hearted. Then the homemade pizza dough gets divided into 3 pieces ( 4 pieces when our son is home from college) and Bill, Abby, and I each start stretching the dough in our pans. Abby makes a cheese pizza and will add bits of buffalo chicken. Bill does a veggie style pizza with lots of onion and green pepper and mushroom. I love doing a mushroom and sweet sausage pizza- when I remember to buy the sausage earlier in the day.

The flour flies, the music plays loudly, the dog gets under our feet, and in the end- twenty minutes later- we have 3 gorgeous pizzas coming out of a hot oven. We feast on them and feel creative and well fed and full. Life is good. Our pizza night is always a success.

But we have other nights when we are out of sorts, not creative, and the meal is slightly burned or flat tasting. it could be that our Pizza night always turns out to be successful because we've been at this for a couple years now. We've tried different sauces, I've doctored the pizza dough recipe, and we've been getting sillier and more wild as we make them. We look forward to Pizza Night because we've come to expect a great experience and great flavor.

The winning combination of success and more success is hard to find. Usually what we experience is success, then failure, then a bit of success, then lots of failure- and if we stop there, it could be a long time before we experience success again.

Trying something for the first time, and then trying it again, is an important ingredient of Success. So you could also say that Risk taking is essential to Success Making. You try something, and therefore you risk something. There's not a lot of sure things in this life. Instead, there's a lot of Maybe-but Perhaps Not-Then Again Maybe.

So many Christians try to make the Christian life sound like its a sure thing- that you get instant peace with God, a fulfilled life, great sleep at night, and no worries because you've now Got God. I don't know that we ever "get God". We don't get what He's up to. We don't get why He allows things to happen in our life. We don't get the full benefits of knowing Him- because we rarely know Him fully. We know Him in part. We see Him in glimpses and in rare wonderful moments. And then we lose sight, or we lost perspective, or we lose the joy of risking and reaching out and trying to find Him again.

I've had some incredible successful moments in my walk with God, where I had epiphanies and revelations and experiences that were intense, meaningful, satisfying- as in cold water given to a sun scorched soul. I've also had some failures in my walk- times when I felt frustrated with God, when I thought God was all about the gain that you get from only pain. I've had times when I couldn't see Him or feel His presence, and I felt deep in darkness and despair, only to suddenly get a sighting of Him that lit up my day and my heart and made me feel wonderful and sad at the same time- because I doubted that He would ever show up again. We're both sad whenever I doubt Him.

The winning combination of success and failure, knowing God and then forgetting what you knew of Him, gaining ground and then losing ground- this combination is our life. Failure can be a stepping stone to success. Going through dark times can mean that experiencing the wonderful times is even sweeter and more fulfilling.

All the nights I've burned dinner, or over cooked the chicken till it was leathery and dry, are forgotten on Pizza Night. On pizza night we live it up. We relish the taste, the experience, the joy of trying to get the winning combination. WE eat the fruit of the labor of our hands and we're glad we got the chance to try something, fail, succeed, and in the end get a mouthful of something so good that we want to do it again.

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