ugly "jacked-up" kitchen

(by hannah)

I’ve always thought it was interesting that Kristi started a blog called the Ugly Kitchen. Her kitchen is darling, and the things it produces are nothing short of amazing. Anytime I get invited to Kristi’s house, I know I am going to have a really good meal. When I think of Kristi’s kitchen, I think of some amazing dessert bubbling with yumminess in her oven, or something wonderful, usually involving brown sugar and butter, bubbling on her stove. Kristi’s kitchen is full of warmth and flavor, much like Kristi herself. Ugly is the last word I’d use to describe her kitchen. 
My husband, a 6 foot, 6 inch white guy with blonde hair who loves to drive around town with his buddy in a corolla listen to really loud rap music, has all kinds of funny slang words in his vast dialog. One of his favorites is using “kitchen” to refer to his mind, usually as part of the phrase, “my kitchen is jacked up.” Loosely translated, he means, “my mind is just as crazy as the sentence I just used to describe it.” 
Which is the second reason I thought the blog title “the ugly kitchen,” was interesting. My “kitchen” (as in mind) is usually busy working out the ugliness of the day or a situation, while my hands are busy at work in my real kitchen. I’ve mentally processed quite a few difficult situations while doing the dishes. First I start by banging some doors, and filling the sink with water. By the time the bubbles reach the top, my mind is lost in thought, and my hands are busy with the mundane. With any luck, just about the time my mental kitchen is back in order, I look outward again to see that my physical kitchen is clean. The bigger the problem, the more my real kitchen sparkles. 
I was busy cleaning my kitchen, mentally discussing the validity of having or not having scented candles in the dining room. I’d have to explain way to much about my job to explain why that is a frustrating discussion. But as I was considering why it may or may not be appropriate to have a vanilla-scented candle on a buffet, I stepped outside of myself for a moment and was almost brought to tears. Scented vs. non-scented candles in the dining room was the “big discussion” that my mind was working through. Not would we have enough to eat this week, or would my husband find a new job soon, or would we lose our house, or file bankruptcy or get divorced, and how was this affecting our kids… No, all those dark questions had been settled. Now I had the leisure to contemplate candles. 
Last week I heard someone say, “better to light a single candle, than to curse the darkness.” A quick google search attributes it to an ancient Chinese Proverb. The more I consider this thought, the more I like it. I thought of all the times I dared to hope in the midst of the darkness, all the times I dared to light a flickering candle in my dark “kitchen.” All those times the darkness laughed and told the light, “hope deferred makes the heart sick…” and all the times I had to snuff out hope because the darkness was right. And there I stood, unpacking a bounty of groceries in my real kitchen, and I realized I didn’t even know the end of that verse. All I could attest to was that hope deferred DOES make the heart sick. And so I sat down to read the second half. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy” Proverbs 13:12. And for the second time that afternoon, I almost cried. Finding life and joy is so much better than carrying a sick heart. 
It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness... It is amazing how much light a little flame can carry in the midst of darkness. … tonight I will be lighting a scented candle in my kitchen, a symbol of hope and defiance. The darkness may surround me, but it will not swallow me. Because for every night there is always a dawn. And when dreams come true, there is life and joy.


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