What am I looking for?
What does it take to get what I am looking for?
Are these the ingredients I need to get what I am looking for, or has someone else determined what ingredients I have to work with?
On some level, these are the kinds of questions everyone who cooks in any way goes through each and every time we enter The Kitchen to cook. My wife and I both cook and largely enjoy it. We have learned over the years that when we approach The Kitchen wanting to cook something wonderful, the first question after “what do I want to make,” is always that of ingredients. Do we have the ingredients necessary for this wonderful dish? If we don’t have every item, can we get it or can we substitute for it? If we substitute for it will the dish still be wonderful? Still nourishing? Still worth our time in The Kitchen?
There is this parallel to life and living, but perhaps we don’t always ask the questions as directly. What do I want out of life? Do I have the ingredients necessary to find what I want out of life? If not, can I find those ingredients? Are there things that I can (or have been willing to) substitute for the needed ingredients? If I make the substitute, what will the result be? Will it still be healthy? Nourishing? Worth the time I put into this kind of life?
In Unitarian Universalism, we affirm every person’s right to pursue a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Core to that search is seeing honestly the ingredients one is working with in life. That kind of honesty includes bold, even raw questions and the practice of inquiry. We affirm that we can trust life and the process of living to surface for us the insights we need for living. We call on each other to practice compassion toward each other as we ask our questions, find our way, make our mistakes, and discover our wisdom.
Inquiry. Trust. Compassion. These are, for us at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett, precious ingredients in Our Kitchen.