I was supposed to make grits casserole. (Which is this amazingly delicious way to eat grits and has been known to win over even the most cynical of skeptics and really it deserves a shout out on the recipe page.) But someone had eaten all the cheese. Maybe it was Amelia during snack time or Joshua for lunch or maybe I just overestimated what could be done with one 16 oz block of cheddar in a few days. Either way, I had to toss that plan and since I’d promised my husband a hot breakfast before he left for work, pancakes seemed like an easy out.
Except that lately my go-to recipe is Pioneer Woman’s sour cream pancakes. Guess what?
Yeah, there’s no sour cream either.
So, I didn’t figure this was really a problem, I would just make the old standby that my mother whipped out in fluffy stacks by the dozen on Saturday mornings up until recently when she traded her spatula for a spork and the Appalachian Trail.
Buttermilk pancakes, no problem.
Also, no recipe. Mama doesn’t write things down; she just cooks and then shrugs and says, “You know, it’s like biscuits but not exactly.”
Not exactly is the point. I know where I went wrong. I overestimated the flour and while it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world, for some reason yesterday, when all I wanted to do was be able to make a simple batch of perfect pancakes, it was the end of the world. Maybe I should back up and admit that I was crying before I even started this process, and when my confused husband wondered what in the world I could be so upset about at 6:45 a.m. before the children were even awake, all I had was tears and fumbling explanations about email and being tired and how I just wanted something to turn out right. For some reason, the past week had just been hard. No reason, really. Just one of those dips into the valley of despair that colored everything gray with frustration.
He ate those thick and chewy opposite of light and fluffy pancakes anyway. He kissed me goodbye and urged me to have a good day. I dumped the rest of the disaster in the trash and started over.
With a recipe for Farmhouse Pancakes I found on a quick Pinterest search.
This time I followed directions. I didn’t second-guess or substitute or waver. I simply did what I was told and earned the promised result: the perfect pancakes I was aiming for all along.
I know I treat my life like that failed batch of pancakes sometimes. I want to just be able to dump all the mess-ups in the trash and start over with a clear and easy set of directions that fulfill my longing for perfection.
But there’s no simple recipe to follow that will guarantee me a life free from all the stress and fatigue that makes me imperfect.
If there was, there would be no need for grace. No need for unconditional love. No need for forgiveness.
I’d love to tell you that I cried a little more, prayed a little harder, and spent the rest of the day thankful for my revelation. The truth is I loaded them up and took them waterfall hiking on a nearby paved trail because I needed to walk away from the mess of the house and the press of those four walls.
I’m sure people thought we were sweet. There were probably some who thought I was either brave or crazy for bringing them here by myself. But the truth behind this picture is it reminds me that even when I follow directions, the promised result can take a lifetime to achieve.
After all, that glorious waterfall’s still pressing on trying to find its way.
I might make perfect pancakes tomorrow, but a perfect life?
I’m learning that there’s no such thing as a perfect life. Really, the perfect life has a lot of imperfect moments framed with a whole lot of grace.
Linking up with the Behind the Scenes community over at Crystal Stine’s today. Check it out and be inspired to tell the truth behind the picture.