It is a moment of no significance.
We are standing Christmas Day in the outdoor kitchen—adults in parkas and kids cavorting—gathered around the big propane burner my wife pulls out to fry doughnuts or fish and hush puppies or French fries, like her father did.
Today it is paper-thin potato slices, bound with butter and roasted garlic, layered and weighted in a loaf pan for days, and then finally cut into elongated bricks. Pam is making these things for the first time, and the butter that holds them together is melting in the hot oil. They are threatening to fall apart, but Pam keeps gently turning them, some slices breaking off and darkening into kettle fries. But mostly the long columns of potato and garlic are holding together by a butter thread, slowly crisping golden and then brown until she ladles the first one like a newborn into a pan swaddled with paper towels. The wows and oohs swell and the grandchildren elbow in to be the first, and we all break off a steaming piece. When mine lands on my tongue I say ‘I don’t need heaven!’ Everyone laughs. It is that good.
No one gave it another thought, but it kept coming back to me. I don’t need heaven. I said that only because I usually do. Whatever I have isn’t quite enough. I need it better, want it ultimate. I want my light without any shadow. Lately, in fact, I have noted how in the midst of certain holiday happiness, I cannot feel it because I am still brooding about something from yesterday.
And then a potato and garlic fry can shake me out of anything but delight—the way a parent can sweep up a grumping child and tickle it into forgetfulness—and I am there.
Most of our needs can never be met. Your loved ones can’t do it for you, God cannot do it either. If you need it, especially if you need it bad, it won’t come. But if you can forget about it, or be surprised at some random thing—I don’t know—a potato, you can be jolted into joy.
Michael Moore says
You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what (you didn’t know) you need. May we get the recipe for those potatoes, please?
David Anderson says
Here’s a Tik Tok reel to inspire you–
Here’s a recipe for the potatoes (you can sub butter for duck fat)
If you want the roasted garlic:
mash up about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the roasted garlic and add it to the potatoes.
I assume you know who’s behind all this recipe info–not me!
The Reign of God is now. It’s in the love, the giggles and the smell of garlic and oil❤️
Sandy Oldfield says
Isn’t it odd how the unlikely things catapult us into joy. Thanks, David! peace, Johnna
Gloria Hayes says
David, you have absolutely no idea how much I needed this.
Cathy H. says
Love reading about your wife’s food creations. And I hope you were also “jolted by joy” (I’m saving that one) by your writing time. I’ve missed your musings.
Steve Hickok says
Thanks David for the beautiful read on Contentment.
“With God all things are possible”
It was refreshing to receive your words of inspiration.
Nancy Johnson jokerst says
Thanks David. We’ve missed you.
Clark Winter says
Thank you David for your marvelous spirit and your endless bountiful and effervescent Joy
Significance in the insignificant! I’ve sure missed your writing, David.
Roger Stikeleather says
So true; thanks for the reminder. Welcome Back!
Helen Jaeger says
Such a lovely New Year’s gift you’ve given us, David. Happy 2022.
David, loved this celebration of the sacred in daily life. And “she ladles the first one like a newborn into a pan swaddled with paper towels” evokes the one who taught us that the physical is spiritual.
Donna Harrison says
In total agreement with others who expressed “missing you.” Your book, Losing Your Faith, Finding Your Soul, is my stand-by. My Bible comes first, of course. Please don’t stay away too long. God has blessed your work.
Matt E says
Well you know where I was 12/25/21! Coloring book and pasta for dinner! Great to hear your voice, holding you to 30/30!