Self Help Pizza
Learn by doing. Do by trying. Try by willing. Will by…wanting? Want by…being human I guess?
I thought I was on to something there. It started strong, but ends badly. Better just chop it off after “try by willing.” If you don’t have the will to try then you’ll never make it to “learn.”
What’s really funny is that I came up with that little piece of fortune cookie “wisdom” because I made a pizza today. From scratch (meaning I made the dough myself). My family has always made our own pizza dough for homemade pizzas. Apparently that’s not especially usual here in America. There have been several times when I’ve told someone that my family made pizza all the time and they assumed that we bought a crust somewhere and just added our own ingredients. Anyway, it was always my dad’s job to make the pizza and I’d help out a little. Today I felt like taking the recipe on myself (I’ve made it a couple times before on my own, but it’s been a long time). The dough ended up a little too dry on one side, a little too sticky on the other. The pizza itself was a little lopsided, and wasn’t as flat as it should be in the middle. Plus the crust was too thick, and I used too much cheddar cheese on the toppings. Still it was pizza, and even bad pizza is good eating, so I’m not too disappointed. I have some dough left over and I’ll try again tomorrow, or maybe the day after. That pizza will be a little better than this one (I won’t use as much cheddar, at least). Presumably the next pizza I try to make will be better than that one, and so on. Someday I’ll have kids of my own and I’ll make the pizza almost perfect every time.
It’s pretty obvious to me that almost everything in life is like that. The more you do something the better you get at it, bit by bit. The more I write the better I get at writing. The more I bake the better I get at baking. The more I run the better I get at running.
Something that’s often overlooked is that our moral life follows the same rules. Are you impatient? Then try practicing patience. You probably won’t do very well (like my lumpy pizza) but the important thing is to try. And then to keep trying. Little by little, as the years go by, you’ll find yourself becoming better and better at patience. The same is true for honesty, charity, love, and kindness. Many people give up on themselves. They take their flaws and try to make those shortcomings a part of their own identity. They think (or say) “I’m a grumpy person. I’m lazy. I’m insensitive. I’ve got a temper. That’s just a part of being me.” The thing to remember is that you can change, if you’re willing to. The change will be hard (as hard as training for a marathon sometimes) but it will come with time.
As a Christian I know that I’ll never be perfect. I know that no man can make it on their own. I know that only through Jesus can we rise out of our sins for good. But I also know a lot of Christians who seem to use this as an excuse not to try to get better. Yes, Jesus will help us on the path to righteousness. And yes, we can never “earn” heaven by our own efforts. But I don’t think it’s wrong to say that Jesus expects me to try.
The question is, am I willing?
UPDATE: Hey, did you know that this is the 100th published post on this blog? I didn’t until after I wrote it. Here’s to the next 100!