Freedom allows me to say yes. Sometimes I know what I’m saying yes to, but often I have only an idea. For instance, when I said yes to marriage, I had an idea of what life would be like with this man, but the reality of our life together has unfolded day by day and year by year. But if I hadn’t said yes in the first place, that life would not have happened at all.
On a smaller scale, we say yes (or no) many times in a given week, sometimes in a single day. I say yes to a conversation even though I have only partial control of how it will go. I say yes to a project while I feel nearly clueless about getting it off the ground. I say yes to a hunch and pray that my intuition is guided by grace.
Years ago, Robin Davis said yes to the very things she had spent a life saying no to: marriage, motherhood, and religion. She met a widower with three young children. Their first tentative yeses led to a life together and to Robin’s sudden transformation into a wife and stepmom. In the midst of all this, she felt faith tugging at her, too, and found herself drawn into the Catholic family of faith.
Oddly enough, what enabled Robin to open her heart to this new life was her love of cooking. She was a trained chef, a restaurant critic, and a food writer.
I may have abolished organized religion and church from my life, but I worshipped what God gave us, even if I didn’t give him credit at the time. I was fascinated the first time I tasted a fresh fig with its spongy insides behind a leathery skin, and diligent when a Jewish mother taught me how to braid yeasted bread into challah and how to caramelize onions slowly to grind into chopped liver. I sought to discern the nuances of a pinot noir made from grapes grown in Sonoma versus one produced in the Burgundy region of France. . . . Food and cooking were my daily prayers, my constant meditations, the underlying lifeblood of my very existence.
Now, here I was, far away from the life I had so carefully crafted, and well into a life that God—the same God I had purposefully and methodically walked away from—had called me to.
While it had seemed so clear that he had wanted me to marry Ken and be a mother to Ben, Molly, and Sarah, it was less apparent to me what exactly he wanted me to do now that I was here. So I set up my temple in the kitchen of our new family home and continued the only prayers I knew: the stirring, bubbling, melding prayers of cooking, while I waited for further divine instructions.
- What is the most frightening yes you have ever said?
- What have you learned about opening your heart when there is so much you still don’t understand about what comes next?
- In what area of your life are you the most free to open your heart—possibly because of something you love, as Robin loved cooking?