A friend of mine recently shared her thoughts upon giving a cast iron skillet as a wedding gift. Words are not her thing, even though her thoughts were quite clear, so she asked me to help her put those thoughts into words for the young bride and groom. Together we managed to compile a sweet few paragraphs to encourage the young couple, and I thought you might like to hear her thoughts…
My favorite cooking equipment is my cast iron skillets, not simply for how wonderfully they cook, but also for the lessons I’ve learned as I stood over the stove and pondered my life. Sometimes through tears and other times through laughter, I’ve come to see cast iron as a metaphor for marriage and family life. For my pan to function properly, I have to maintain it every day, or it simply isn’t able to give me the results I need. If I ignore it and don’t care for it or use it in the way it was meant to be used, rust will soon overtake its surface, and cooking in it contaminates all the wonderful food that I spent my time and money choosing. The end result is quite distasteful, and fixing the problem takes a long time and far more effort than attending those pans for a few minutes each day. If, on the other hand, I spend a little time each day seasoning it properly, I bless my family with beautiful and delicious bounty every day. They feel loved, and I get the satisfaction of watching them grow healthier and stronger with each passing meal.
My family is much the same way. I may be too tired to deal with the work and think it won’t hurt this one time to ignore the tone I detected in my husband’s voice. Clearly he needed to talk, but I was too tired. One day turns into two and then into weeks, and before I know it, he no longer cares to talk. He’s given up. A callous spirit grows in my heart like rust on an iron skillet, and I know repairing my heart is hard work. The longer I neglect that relationship, the harder it will be to repair. If, on the other hand, I take the time to listen and love each day, to share my heart and encourage him to share his, he is eager to share his day with me, and I reap the incredible bounty of a healthy marriage nurtured with great care.
I wish I could say I care for my skillets like my friend does; in fact, after writing this for her, I had to ask her to repair my own poorly maintained skillets in hopes they would look well used by the time my family arrives in August for a fishing vacation, where I’m pretty sure they will expect to have some skillets for frying the catch of the day.
As I ponder these words, I am very thankful for God’s prodding at my heart daily to care for the hearts of my family. Now that they have grown up and started managing their own cooking–well, some of them anyway–it’s a little more difficult to remember that their hearts still need the nurturing that their bellies always did and that they will find strength to maintain their precious families when they know their parents believe in them and pray for them regularly, and a lasting iron skillet is the perfect reminder. Guess what my brood is getting for Christmas!
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch
Skillet Story: Paula Steele
Photo courtesy Karner Blue Photography