When in the course of human events (I know I use that phrase a bit, but Thomas Jefferson came up with a very cool way to start a document – it’s much better than, say, “So – here’s da ting….”), it’s going to be another scorcher outside today, and that always reminds me other summers – and Sundays – when it was equally as hot, and for some reason, that meant Mom pulled out her world-famous Guamanian Chicken recipe that she somehow pilfered back in the early 70s. Now, I have written about this delicious, just-spicy enough recipe that moves us beyond your typical fried chicken, or barbequed chicken on the grill. From the sound of the recipe, you might think it has all sorts of mouth-burning, flame throwing heat – but you would be wrong. In fact, the only thing even sort of hot is a tablespoon of black pepper, and if you can’t handle that in an entire mixture, then please just boil up a hot dog, put ketchup on it, and call that your spicy meal of the week.
So, this morning, after enjoying a nice breakfast, some great cups of coffee, and the time to complete both the Sunday crossword puzzle, and the cryptoquip, a puzzle where you have to figure out which letter actually stands for another letter as you try to solve the puzzle which gives you pretty much a pun. Part of the answer of today’s puzzle was “… shaman chanted evening….” But it’s fun to work on and Cheri and I do them together, so that’s fun, too.
Anyway – after that frivolity was finished, I went to work on doing the prelim for Mr. Guamanian… it required sliced up onions, and lots of other sauces and spices mixed in – I put it all in a Ziploc bag, dumped the trimmed chicken in, and put it in the over for about 6-7 hours. By then, I figure the guy next door will have finished mowing his lawn – again – the third time this week, when we have received really not rain, and his lawn, like everyone else’s, has not grown at all, but for some reason, he is obsessed with walking his very loud lawnmower over every square inch of his lawn, which does nothing but use up fossil fuels.
But I digress – it’s his lawn, so he can just knock himself out – it’s just that it is SO loud, and you really can’t sit outside without having earplugs of your own, an entire lawn over, to avoid eardrum damage. So, after he is done with his itty bitty lawn mowing, around 5pm this afternoon, I’ll crank up the grill, and turn plain chicken thighs into an international delight.
That’s kind of a nice thing about summer – and about being retired. I’m not looking ahead to see what meeting I need to attend in some church basement this week, nor what pastor or parish is in meltdown about something, that, had they simply used some decent communication skills, and work at solving a problem, instead of attacking individuals, they could have taken care of it all, and created a much stronger relationship after all was done. I do believe a great injury to the Church nowadays is that persons – including pastors – take their hurt feelings and tough experiences in their own lives, and carry that “stuff” into their life in the church, and decide without really deciding, that they are going to raise a ruckus, because, it just seems to be a easy place to light a match in a room full of gas. They somehow feel better when they can stir everything up over an issue that is really not worth stirring – it’s kind of like throwing rocks at a beehive, just to see what happens. The bees were fine and dandy, until the rock hits, and then they go all ballistic, and the result is that the humans find a way to destroy the hive, because somehow they – the bees – have turned evil and dangerous. No one looks at the rocks. Churches are like that, unless emotionally mature leaders step up, and tell them to put the rocks down, and respect the hive in the first place.
Well, that was quite a digression from grilling chicken, don’t you think? I guess what I would like to think is that, especially now in my retirement, I can put my energy to those things that truly bring joy, and contentment, and peace. No – it’s not Nobel Peace Prize level work – it’s just taking the opportunity to dial down the static that seems to scream out of so many different corners of our lives today. The stuff of today’s world appears to be so conflicted, and so much clashing of different opinions, which end up with one side telling the other they are totally wrong, instead of just holding different opinions. I have to tell you, there is not much to be gained by picking fights, or by demanding everything change to accommodate your own particular perspective.
Maybe we can once again listen to Thumper’s mother, who taught the little rabbit, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Granted, there are times when true injustice, and true wrongs are committed by one person or group to another, but truly, those instances are rare, and far between. Most often, when looked at carefully, what we really see is simply someone or ones not getting their own way, and then getting fussy and unnecessarily hard to live with…
But – back to the chicken. I can nearly guarantee that sometime between 5 and 6pm this late afternoon, one of the best places to be will be on our back patio, just enjoying the aroma of our friend, Guamanian, which will only be outdone by the taste and enjoyment of a great Sunday summer meal.
You are certainly welcome to stop by – I always prepare way too much. Just be sure, if you come, to leave crankiness and self-centeredness in the car, and only bring inside at least the image of someone we would love to spend time with. That’s the only requirement of finding joy today, which is really the key to an intentional and significant life. Blessings.
Word for the day: capricious. Pronounced kuh-PREE-shus. This is not a word of virtue or to be used in a compliment. The word is actually defined as, “the tendency to be impulsive, to go off half-cocked, to be unpredictable in a not reasonable way, to be erratic – to not act by reason.” Well, that’s the pits.
The word, caprice, comes from the Italian capriccio, which again, is translated as “not a sudden desire, but the reaction that comes from a shudder of fear.” The word further breaks down to capo, which we know is “head,” and riccio, which you may not know is translated as “hedgehog.” If you are capricious, it is as if you have “hedgehog head,” where your hair stands on end, like hedgehog spines… in that state, you and I tend to do the first thing that comes to mind, which often is not thoughtful, but reactive, and usually turns out to be in impulsive mess.
Invite persons, when in a tense time, to let go of their “capricious” tendencies, and try to find a good and peaceful path through it all…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.