looking through me

Tag: art

perfectionless baking

Perfectionism pulses through me—not in all areas, but in many. Every once in a while I remember it is an uninvited presence, and I push pause on it. Today I hit the button as I stepped into the kitchen.

I handed Norah a custard cup of sprinkles and a spoon. I shaped and placed the sugar cookie dough, and she covered each piece in a mound of sprinkles. I didn’t show her how; I didn’t limit the amount she put on; I didn’t “fix” those with too few or too many; I didn’t squelch her not-so-secret sprinkle sampling. The end result? Cookies that were far from uniform but lavished in love—better than perfect.

Putting the perfectionism on the shelf wasn’t hard. Maybe because thirty-plus years of baking perfectionism can’t overwrite the memory of being the three-year old perched on the stepstool. I still remember Great-Grandma letting me roll the molasses cookies in sugar. I’m sure some had bare spots and some were smooshed out of shape. But I don’t remember her correcting me.

And today I know why she overlooked the imperfections. Today I understand what power there is in freeing a little girl to work without second-guessing herself or comparing one cookie to another.

It’s been a long time since I enjoyed baking as much as I did today. And I think the cookies tasted better with all of the love and none of the judgment.

 

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gift of creation

What if each sunrise and sunset was a gift? What if each birdsong and flower petal was purposeless embellishment? What if clouds were ornamental? What if colors were perks? What if God intended them all to give pleasure?

Not to say they weren’t designed to be functional, but what if the beauty is as important as the function . . . or even more so? It’s hard to imagine God created for practicality and that aesthetics were merely the byproduct. It’s harder to imagine His declarations of goodness were based on successful configuration and not perfection in every dimension.

Couldn’t the water cycle be a massive piece of performance art? Couldn’t the earth’s orbit of the sun be an opportunity to feature the fracturing of light waves across the ultraviolet spectrum and not just an exercise in the division of day and night? Couldn’t the zebra’s stripes be for a toddler’s delight and not only for survival? Maybe the art came first, and the scientific infrastructure was built to showcase it.

The more I explore the hows and whys of the world, the more the intricacies and the beauty captivate me. Science gives shape and language to the mystery but never diminishes it. Investigating nature’s marvels increases my amazement—each answered question leads to new reverence. The complexities magnify the wonder of the Creator.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Rocks don’t have to shimmer and sparkle. Running water doesn’t have to sing. But it is this way. And it is good.

 

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