Thursday, September 15, 2011

The About Margie on Margie's Stuff

It’s a Friday morning in early Fall and I am on the cusp of going live with a new sub-site linked to Ransom Fellowship. Before that can happen, I need to write an About Margie.

 much later in the day. No closer to being done. I don’t like writing this page and find many excuses to procrastinate. Hours have slipped past, and now it’s time to make chile rellenos with the poblanos I roasted earlier today.

The first distraction of the day was addressing the problem of wild grapes intended for jelly, not the syrup they’ve become. One jar for pancake syrup is okay, but ten? No. I dumped them all back into a large saucepan and re-heated it to a boil, stirring, watchful, thinking. I decided to add more pectin to see if it would thicken up. Carefully, I mixed it with a little water, gradually added spoonfuls of hot grape syrup until I could gently pour it into the simmering pot so as not to create one giant grape clot. There was a slight delay and then mayhem. I’ve stirred down many a rolling boil in life, but this was quickly out of control and I was trying to calm Mount St. Helens with a wooden spoon. The frothing bubbles grew into a heaping mound above the pot while I frantically tried to jerk the pot off the burner. Too late. The purple lava flowed over the sides, onto the burner where it smelted to pure carbon, adding a stink to the air, before sinking into the dark recesses of the range, where I never go. Thirty minutes later the mess was cleaned up and the jelly re-cooked. While ladling into the first jar, I managed to pour an inferno on my thumb. This was too much. I was about to cry or break all the jars, when my lifetime collaborator walked into the kitchen and offered to help.

And since that’s where I’m headed ... I may as well state it: now, looking back, thinking forward, life has been and will always be a collaboration with my husband of many years and with others who have joined us along the way. Not that it’s been perfect by any means. But I can’t write about myself without including Denis – his love of me, of hospitality, of theology, the challenges of media and culture … together we’ve tried to live artfully and faithfully, welcoming into our home those who don’t necessarily think or act like Sunday School veterans. We’ve asked ourselves what it means to fully live in this world with it’s many wonders and troubles and yet offer the full story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation.

When I was younger, I fantasized about doing something sensational and heroic, I can’t even think what right now. But I’ve learned that living a life pleasing to God and one that’s unexpectedly fulfilling is found in the ordinary days of waiting for the kitchen floor to dry in lemon-scented swaths on cleaning day, of scanning a cookbook for an apple cake recipe, reading a novel, reconciling the checking account, raising children, serving friends and strangers around a table where we share life stories. In the most foundational way learning to see Christ’s presence in the midst of the most common events not just for others, but for myself.

In this rich scape, which can also be rocky and danger-filled, I’ve been writing about what's funny, what's holy, what's suffering, probably since before you were born. It would be nice to claim that a great deal of wisdom has been seived through life’s boil-overs and rare moments of triumph over fruit-fly infestations, but that might sound arrogant.

This is the direction I stumble in, believing a greater glory will one day be revealed.

P.S. You should also know we have three adult children who helped shape our lives. I’m crazy about them, their spouses, and our eight grandchildren. I was at one time a pre-med student. (Thankfully, God spared me a life he knew I couldn’t live. I learned this observing the punishing schedules of physician friends.)  In another life I would be a stone mason or a gardener. I love coffee and chocolate. Currently, a dash of chronic illness seeps into my priorities, which is often why I don’t answer the phone. Don’t take it personal.

 A friend told me this pic made me look like a Grandma Vampire wannabe. That wasn't what I was had in mind. But my apologies for constantly wearing black and looking like I might bite.

11 comments:

Jessie said...

Lovely. And that paragraph in the middle, about wanting a sensational life, was just what I needed today. Lately, I've been overwhelmed (bored?) by the monotony of raising children, making dinner, hosting people, grocery shopping, clipping basil, going to soccer practice, correcting the small people again and again and again, washing the same laundry I washed yesterday again today, continually opening up my home in a life of hospitality...I live in NYC for crying out loud, shouldn't my life be sexier than this!?!

But I am reminded that at the end of this road is glory unknown. That sowing in tears reaps a harvest of joy. That continuing on this stumbling journey in His pathway leads to life forevermore. Thanks for the reminder that it IS indeed better!

Kathleen Overby said...

Andi sent me over here. She's right. I love what I'm reading. Will be oming back for more. You also sound like one of those precious women who 'wear out aprons'.

Margie Haack said...

Jessie, thank you so much for your comment. You describe it well, the sand of sameness where whether we see them or not we are surrounded by that cloud of witnesses cheering us. I cheer you. Perhaps one of the secrets of getting through is nurturing ourselves in small ways. Sneaking off to bed early (alone!). Eating a truffle. Buying a magazine you wouldn't dare to admit you like. Maybe someone should start a list to share.
But I get that NYC thing. Yes. Bless you for loving others as you do.

Margie Haack said...

Kathleen, thank you for stopping by. And thanks to Andi for sending you. I love her aprons and she wears vintage with such aplomb. I'm way more of a slob, wiping my hands on my jeans, dragging my sleeves through the batter ... she is beautiful and stellar.

Sandra Oster said...

This post made me laugh and able to imagine myself there with you in that kitchen and at that stove. Then it brought tears-joy for the beauty of your life there, together with Denis and now the addition of Anita. Miss you so much! But I delight knowing that I am were I should be, thanks to you all.(Perhaps I should acknowledge that our God is the author of this all).
Love you dear ones.
Sandy

Sandra Oster said...

And regarding the Vampire comment, if you bite, I do know that you have had your shots so who cares.

Margie Haack said...

Sandy, it is with great affection that i hear from you. We know Auckland is a good place for you to be right now as you teach others to become nurse practitioners. Still, we could use a hand in redoing the batch of salsa that has gone bad and must be thrown out and begun anew. Seems that "he who has begun a good work in you will see it to the end" better come for a visit, too.

Walking to China said...

I live a fairly ordinary life in an extraordinary place and it can be really satisfying. I teach, I train teachers, I take care of my family and foster a young orphan. The older I get, the more impressed I am with those who live faithfully in the place that God has placed them. Thank you for a lovely post.

Margie Haack said...

Walking to China, thank you, I love what you do. I think we need to hear more from others' ordinary walk in life and what faithfulness looks like in a nook hidden away from CNN. Personally, I need to hear often. It reminds me of the great company of people from all over the world - the sisters and brothers I've cast my lot in with. (Was that bad grammar or just Minnesotan to end sentence with prep.?)

Haley Moore said...

Grandma Vampire wannabe -- what?? I love the photo: you look hip and intelligent and kind, with a healthy sense of humor. And I think I'd see that in the photo even if I didn't know you.

I just recently found the blog -- I'm not on the computer much outside of work -- and am enjoying your posts. This one made me think of a book I recently read, Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life, by Margaret Peterson. It gets a little repetitive, but I was thinking, "Yes!" and "Amen, sister!" all through it. And, of course, I thought of Toad Hall, and how you and Denis model hospitality so winsomely.

Margie Haack said...

Haley, how sweet to hear from you. And that was affirming. I didn't take John's remark to heart because he's a tease, and I almost thought if I parted my lips, there might be sharpened incisors behind. I'll be sure to check the book out. I know how it is to recommend something that has much good in it, (or even just some) and you'd like to put out a little warning: this isn't perfect, but still...