When I got married, my grandmother gave me a wooden rolling pin that had been a shower gift to her when she got married in 1921. It had been well used as my grandmother was a wonderful cook who made wonderful pies. She taught my mother how to cook and my mother taught me.
I learned how to make a great pie crust, in particular that it had more to do with the feel of the dough than the specifics of a recipe. For many years I too made wonderful pies and rolling out the dough always stirred memories of two women who helped shape my life.
Until one day.
I don’t remember what day it was. I just know that somewhere along the way life got busy and I choose the convenience option. Buy a prepared crust. A frozen, mass produced pie crust. I kept making pies but they were no longer wonderful pies, at least not by my grandmother’s standards. They were probably good pies, one step up from a store bought pie, but they were not wonderful.
And the rolling pin? It got relegated to the back of the cupboard.
Fast forward to last year when we renovated our kitchen. That required me to empty all the cupboards. And there it was. My grandmother’s rolling pin. In the midst of a kitchen renovation I wasn’t about to start making pies from scratch, but something began to bake in my mind.
Which brings me to last week. While making my grocery list for our Thanksgiving dinner, the rolling pin started to call out to me. “Hey remember me? Remember what it was like to actually make a pie?”
And so I did. It took longer than buying a frozen pie crust and tossing the filling inside. Making pie dough from scratch is a lovely opportunity to be present in the moment. You have to pay attention. You can’t rush it. I was actually surprised and delighted at the ease with which it all came back to me.
Here’s the thing:
The best things in life are not always convenient.
We have become a culture of convenience first. In our always busy lives we sacrifice the activities that take a little more of our time and attention so we can get on to the next thing on our list. We look for the shortest, least effort path to whatever we are doing.
I’m not suggesting we go back to knitting our own socks or grinding our own flour or taking our clothes to the nearest river to wash them out. There are lots of time saving conveniences that are a good thing.
But when we always choose the fastest way to do things we miss out on the opportunity to slow down and be in the moment. Convenience has a cost that is greater than just the price you pay at the cash register. When you opt for the choice that perpetuates your uber-busy lifestyle, you are actually disconnecting with everything around you. You trade all of the mindful moments available for more moments of busyness.
It’s in those moments of slowing down that you have the wonderful opportunity to meaningfully connect with your loved ones, your co-workers, your neighbours, and the world around you. It’s in those moments you awaken your senses and take in life as it is rolling out in front of you.
So pick something…
Call someone rather than text.
Write a note rather than email.
Cook from a recipe rather than a box.
Sit while you eat rather than on the run.
Walk rather than drive.
When you catch yourself saying “I’m too busy to do that”, then know that what you are really saying is “I’m just too busy.” Slow down. Make a pie. Life is lived in the moment, not in the to-do list.
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