Last night my wife cleaned things out of the refrigerator. One item was a pan of boring white rice. I had in mind to do something with it rather than throw it out. I love re-purposing anything, and making something good out of something thought worthless. The idea is not just for food, but for everything. One makes art out of trash, one makes great food out of boring leftovers, one rebuilds a home and makes something beautiful from a place that was once thought unliveable, or uncomfortable, or not ideal, one finds the hope and determination to make something good out of one’s worthless-feeling self. That last one, though. I need to hear that one myself, frequently.
That pan of rice. No one was eating that. It was plain, white, boring rice, and no one made chicken-rice soup, or fried rice because we just had that, or whatever. She said to throw it away while I was cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes.
I looked around and realized I had:
Not quite 4C cold white rice
1 -ish C milk, give or take. It may have been a cup and a half, I didn’t measure it but it barely covered the rice.
3/4 C Sugar, give or take. I like it a bit sweet- if you make this, taste it while cooking to make sure it tastes good to you.
3tsp cinnamon (I may have overdone that ingredient)
a gentle sprinkling of nutmeg
I threw it all together, whisked, and cooked it until the custard boiled and started to set. I confess I guessed at the milk. I just poured it until it looked right. That dull, white rice destined for the trash can? It’s now rice pudding, and it’s delicious. I had some last night. Tonight if I have more I’ll steal some of my wife’s cream she uses for her coffee, to pour over it.
Sometimes, I’m completely fucked up. I feel dry, cold, bland, stupid, useless, and I don’t know what to do with my life– that rice is going into the trash. But maybe I can do something with what I have. I remember the story of the widow at Zarephath and I believe it’s true. Elijah just asked what she had in the house, and God made it work because she was willing to share.
I want to be re-purposed, as a writer and encourager of discouraged souls. I want to make the plain white rice of my life into the fragrant, sweet deliciousness of a warm, wonderful, refreshing dessert. I frequently feel discouraged and depressed because there is so much I want to do and don’t have the energy, or financial means, to fix what’s falling apart, or to carry off what I see needing to be done. I frequently feel useless, or worse, just used. I can’t do a lot of things, but maybe the limitations are supposed to help me focus and dream and figure out what I can do.
I want you to know that although you and I may feel discouraged, thinking we need something we don’t have, (hope, purpose, dreams, love,) with a little creativity, we might find whatever we need right there in the kitchen of our hearts. It sounds like treacle, but if I can find an encouraging message from the mess of a pan of cold, leftover white rice, I bet you can accomplish something great with whatever you have in your heart, too. Look around. Let it out. Write it down. Dream a little instead of just being ready to throw the whole dish away. Don’t throw it away. Try something different.
Please try again. And here, have a dash of love, straight from Deon’s Heart. I hope you find it’s a little like the nutmeg, doesn’t take much (good thing, too, I don’t feel I have a lot of that to offer sometimes), but I hope it just tweaks the whole recipe and makes it a tiny bit better.
Blessings. Holy cow, blessings, from ME. I can hardly believe it myself.