What a marinade can do for your steak and your soul

“Taste this!” Sam says with pride, as I casually pass through the kitchen. He just mixed the marinade for our Sunday steak and chicken.

I put the spoon in my mouth and tasted a strong sense of Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar. I knew there was sugar, pineapple and other sweet ingredients, but the vinegar and Worcestershire were quite pungent. My face puckered.

“No thank you; my chicken doesn’t need any. It’ll be fine without it.” After I made a critical comment about the marinade, we got in an argument.

He made his point that the marinade was intentionally strong and will permeate the meat intensely over night, producing an incredibly tasty steak. He said "It's suppose to be strong."

I said "Marinades are not meant for tasting."

Their purpose is to surround the food in seasoning that will enhance the essence of it’s flavor. It has a meaningful purpose. It boldly offers a savorous environment while the food rests and absorbs it’s richness. It’s also used as a tenderizer, softening the tough parts of the meat.

Obviously my argument was much longer than his, so I considered that a win. "Anyway, this isn’t about winning." So I thought to myself, sarcastically.

Sam didn't know that just last week I made a note in my planner to consider the concept of marinading, and how it's similar to our lives. If we all surrounded ourselves with people and places that enhance who we are, we could rest and absorb their love, bringing out the sweet and tender parts of ourselves.

This morning, Kennedy and I watched “Diary of the Wimpy Kid.” When it was over, I went back to bed and cried. How could this movie bring me to tears? I wondered, "Was this really written about a kid going through a socially awkward period in middle school or was this written about a 39 year old woman starting a blog?" (Just for the record, I didn’t have any involvement in Sam’s broken ankle last winter).

I felt like the wimpy kid…..trying to be noticed. I too have felt quite small and unimportant, lately. Like Waldo in the popular books "Where's Waldo?" I feel like a woman somewhere in the crowd of billions of people. Unlike the red striped shirt he is famous for wearing, I am wearing a pink and white striped cotton dress, and I feel like a woman hidden in the crowd.

I am one woman with a family, friends, a job, volunteer choices, and a blog. Oprah planted the seed years ago for wondering what my purpose in life is. I do believe that every living thing is an essential part of this world, but what is my essential part? I'm starting to think that living a life enriched with deep flavor and tender with kindness is an important life.

Maybe the way I feel and the questions I ask are highlighted because of the movie or maybe it’s because I’m reading about vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame in “Rising Strong.” Regardless of the light that is shining brightly on my own vulnerability issues, it's clear now that vulnerability is something I feel, and if not noticed and gently cared for, it can lead to eating too many donuts and crying after kid's movies.

So I marinade; I marinade in unconditional love and in trust. I trust the marinade to soften my tough parts and infuse my soul with flavor. I’m doing my best to live a courageous life even though I feel crazy vulnerable. And today I will trust the process of life to take care of me. 

"This chicken is delicious, Sam. It's full of flavor."  I said apologetically for my earlier sharpness. He smiled with pride.