Progress, not perfection

A number of weeks ago, while I was home and my spouseman and stepson were out hunting, I got the idea that I was going to try making croissants. Don’t know how to put this any more bluntly: it was a total disaster and I vowed I wouldn’t ever waste my time again.

Then, in early February, we got word that one of our very dearest friends had died very unexpectedly. Sherod drove to Ft Lauderdale yesterday; tomorrow, he and María will attend Bob’s funeral together. Bob was one of the folks who found María and he was her Godfather. I thought about going and then I realized I wouldn’t. The last year of my ministry in Ft Lauderdale was living hell, some of it of my own making, some, because making church sausage can be brutal. I don’t know that I’ll ever be up to stepping foot back at All Saints and that’s ok. I took yesterday off and today’s my regular day of Sabbath time; that meant the critters had someone to take care of them and I have been in good company.

Thinking about how to find my way through these days, I decided that by golly, I was going to take what I had learned with my first attempt at making croissants and try again. It’s a 24 hour process though long. periods of time involve letting the dough rest. Nonetheless, it requires concentration, and slow, careful effort. When I wasn’t working on the bread, I cleaned kitchen cabinets. By the time I went to bed at 11:30 pm, after doing the “second fold,” it took me less than 5 minutes to fall asleep. I was back at it today and in the final steps, I saw clearly that I was learning some more and there was still a good way for me to go to master the art of croissant baking. I have no idea when, or if, I will do it again.

I was immeasurably thankful for the work I could do. Before I fell asleep on Wednesday night the Russian invasion of Ukraine had begun and all day yesterday, I found myself stopping to weep, for the people of Ukraine, for my brothers, their families, and our good friends in Europe, for our country that now has a former president lauding Putin, for the future that waits for our children even as we spend time on war and not climate change. That, on top of the sorrow of losing our friend, made it so tempting to do nothing but stare out the window in despair.

I got through the day, I am now actively shaping my sermon for the Sunday of the Transfiguration, war and death have not had have the last word in or home. And I have the evidence of applied learning in front of me. The croissants will go to neighbors and the freezer, and there is deep satisfaction; these are not perfection, but there was some progress.

You lock a sheet of butter in dough
You go through a process of layering the dough and butter. Lamination, it’s called.
The second to last step involves rolling out the laminated dough, cutting triangles and then forming the croissants
Out of the oven
With some lamination

2 thoughts on “Progress, not perfection

  1. I had exactly the same experience this week trying to cast on and knit on double pointed needles. I’m still at the “I’ll never be able to do this” halt, as the mistakes cascaded and piled up. Progress would definitely involve starting over

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