It may go down as my all-time favorite childhood memory: The smell of my grandmother’s homemade pecan and raisin cinnamon rolls baking in the oven – “love in a pan” – made especially for me because she knew they were my favorite. Several times during what seemed to me as an everlasting, agonizing, eternal baking process, she would say, in a not-so-subtle, louder than normal voice, “Let’s just see how these little guys are doing in here…” She would carefully crack open the oven door which would release yet another intensifying wave of mouthwatering aromas: spicy cinnamon, softening raisins, melting butter, rising yeast, and caramelizing brown sugar. Of course, as if on command and pulled by the magnetic force of that smell, I came running to watch as the small, white balls of dough began to transform into swollen, golden brown bits of heaven dripping with all kinds of gooey goodness.
“Ummm… Not quite done yet… Almost, though.” She’d say with a smile, as she closed the oven door again and, with a wink, gently dabbed the drool from my chin and sent me back out to play.
Here’s what she didn’t say as she looked at her rolls halfway through the baking process: “Oh, my goodness! These are all wrong!” or “This recipe must be bad!” or “I knew this wouldn’t be worth all the trouble!” Of course, like us, she knew they just weren’t done yet. They didn’t look right because they were still in the process. There was nothing wrong with the recipe because, well, I’m not exactly sure she actually used one. Every time they turned out a little different and always, ultimately perfect. Even if she wasn’t totally satisfied, she’d say, “I’ll just put in a little more sugar next time.” It was an organic, intuitive way of developing and creating and refining.
I’m sure when she died, though I didn’t ask her, she would have said her cinnamon roll recipe was still not quite “done” yet and was still evolving.
In our lives, we look at all sorts of things, people, and circumstances and say, or at least think to ourselves, “This is wrong. This is bad. This shouldn’t be this way.” How different would it be if we changed our internal dialogue from “That’s wrong” to “It’s just not quite done yet”?
There are bad things happening in the world around us. We see pictures of men doing things that make us cringe. Powerful people acting inappropriately. Government departments wasting our hard-earned money. Crimes against humanity in places halfway around the globe. They all seem wrong to me and likely to you, too. But, I believe these things change things. Eventually, they evolve into something different, often something better, occasionally something perfect which could not have been without it looking so wrong to us halfway through the process… causing us to strongly prefer something different than this, to take action about it, or to be patient enough to let the natural consequences teach those who need to learn the lesson take its course.
Even on a smaller scale, closer to home, we frown upon the decisions our boss makes, we dislike a co-worker for the way they act, we go to sleep wondering if we’ve given birth to the next ax-murderer because of the way our child behaved in pre-school today. What if we could frame these feelings of wrong, bad, or mistaken as people or circumstances just halfway through the baking process of what they will ultimately become, what they will ultimately learn, and how they will ultimately evolve. They’re just not quite done yet… and neither are we.
Here’s the best news: It’s never done. And we can’t get it wrong because it’s never done. Our lives, their lives, the world at large is forever evolving, constantly learning, eternally developing into a gorgeous, ultimately perfect pan of warm, gooey cinnamon rolls.
So relax when you open the oven door and see all those weird, wrong-looking little balls in your life. Be patient, remember they’re still cookin’… and wait for it. It will be worth it and you’ll feel a whole lot better while you’re waiting.
This week we are recycling a favorite MMS. Our new subscribers will enjoy
Katherine’s story and the lessons she took from the experience. And to all of our
MMS readers who have been loyal subscribers from the beginning… you’ll remember
why we love seeing the world of business and life through the eyes of The Lioness.
“I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.”
~ Haruki Murakami