Saturday mornings are usually pretty hectic at our house. John wants to go to the gym. I want to go to yoga. Someone has to stay with the baby. Plus we need to check on the remodel … to prepare for the next week’s work, to mow the lawn, to water the grass. But yesterday morning, I had other plans.
I’m a member of the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Les Dames is philanthropic group made up of women who work in the culinary, beverage, or hospitality industry. One of the women in our local chapter, Pamela Nevarez-Fischer, set up an arrangement with Whole Foods Market that works like this: Every Saturday morning, two members of Les Dames go to Whole Foods to pick up the day-old produce and bakery items. We load that into our cars and then transport it to the kitchens at Caritas (downtown) and the University United Methodist Church (on campus). The kitchens then incorporate that food into the daily meals that they provide to the hungry and homeless. I signed up several months ago to be one of the runners this weekend.
At the church kitchen, I met Lloyd. Although I’m not sure of his official title, Lloyd was clearly the executive chef … and was also handling grill, pantry, and pastry. Amazingly, everything was running smoothly. Even more amazing, despite his limited resources, Lloyd was completely over the moon about every dish he was cooking. My favorite dish was the one he called the “I Don’t Know” Salad. When we asked about the name, this is what he said: “Well I don’t know what you are going to bring me, so I don’t know what is going to go in it.” “See?” he said with a laugh. “I Don’t Know.”
What I love about Lloyd’s approach is that he is so accepting of uncertainty. Shouldn’t we all be this way? Because shouldn’t we all know by now that the only certainty in life is uncertainty?
I’ll admit that I have sort of a love-hate relationship with the unknown. On the one hand, uncertainty about the future is what makes dreaming possible. It’s what made me lie awake at night when John and I were just dating, and dream that we would someday get married. It’s also what makes me hope every day that I will have an opportunity to host another cooking show and write another cookbook.
But then, that same uncertainty can be utterly unnerving in other contexts. Like when Jack was in intensive care shortly after he was born, and I was nearly paralyzed by my fear about the future.
What does one do to live with this uncertainty? (What do you do?) My resolution this week is to be more like Lloyd. Sure, I’ll keep setting my alarm clock and making my to-do lists. But if I can just keep Lloyd in mind, maybe I’ll finally learn to really embrace what I don’t know.