Homemade pasta is a little luxury I have been indulging in since my mother-in-law bought me a pasta mill. Itís so simple that even I cannot get it wrong. With just two basic ingredients, flour and eggs, oh and a pinch of salt, I am can make a bowlful of tagliatelle or spaghetti. Add to that some smoked salmon, a few mussels, baked vegetables, ham or perhaps just some plain cheese and you can see that the possibilities are endless.
There is a real sense of satisfaction sitting down with friends and family to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Pasta and fellowship, what more could I want?
The problem is that I cringe every time I use the pasta mill. Please stop laughing, I am being very serious. Oh, I start off alright. I measure out my flour, crack in two or three eggs, making sure I donít forget that pinch of salt. Then I begin mixing it all together until I have a ball of dough. My problem actually starts when I use the pasta mill itself. Time and time again my ball of newly formed dough is squashed between two rollers where it is pulled and stretched, and pulled and stretched until it is thin enough to use in one of the recipes. In the end it bears no resemblance at all to the raggedy, sticky ball of dough I started off with.
Why does this cause me to cringe? Because that raggedy, sticky ball of dough is me, my life, complete with my two basic ingredients, faith and trust. God, as you have probably guessed, is the pasta mill.
My raggedy edges are being pulled this way and that, then stretched and pulled some more until their roughness becomes a little smoother. The stickiness of my thoughts and attitudes is being finely floured by the same treatment. In short, I am being passed through Godís pasta mill. I can feel His hand holding me, easing me between His rollers, waiting patiently for me to come out of the other side, a little closer to the shape He wants me to be. There are times He allows me to rest, but only for a short while otherwise, just like my own pasta, I would become dry and cracked, and He would have to start the process all over again.
I cringe because I like my comfort zone, itís a little bit scary being drawn out towards new horizons. I cringe because there are moments when I want to be the one in control of my life, not God. I cringe because I cannot always see where Iím going, and I am frightened of what is around the corner. Most of all I cringe because it is sometimes a little bit painful to be honed into the shape God wants me to be.
Has all this stopped me using my pasta mill? No, of course not! The end results are too mouth-droolingly wonderful, and well worth any time and effort I put into the preparation.
Will God ever stop putting me through His pasta mill? No, of course not!
Given the basic ingredients of faith and trust, God will keep stretching and pulling me, kneading me and moulding me until I reach the fullness of His potential for me.
Spaghetti Bolognese, spaghetti with walnut sauce, tagliatelle with smoked salmon, fettuccine with ham and cream.
Love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness.
With God the possibilities are endless.