Mono-tasking and The Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Last Friday I made four perfect grilled cheese sandwiches.  Really!  I mean they were perfect.  They were buttered mostly with a spread but then a pad of real butter to give that real butter taste (my wife assures me this makes a difference, it doesn’t to me but perfect means perfect even if you can’t tell the difference – and these were perfect.) A crisp golden brown bread without a hint of burn not a single section soggy or under cooked.  The cheese was like melted gold, warm and creamy and yet fully contained so not a single drop was lost to the griddle.

It was perfect.  They were perfect… four of them.  It was like catching a glimpse of heaven, or gazing at a  field of stars so crystal clear and plentiful that you are struck by such beauty you are moved to tears…. Okay so it wasn’t that good.  But it was a really good sandwich.

So why write about that here?  What does this have to do with Lent, discipleship, or wrestling with God?

Well I grew up on burned biscuits, and just good-enough grilled sandwiches.  Why?  Because first my mom was making them for a family of six with all the other distractions that come with that, and now I’m doing the same.  I rarely pay attention to just the grilling of the sandwich.  I don’t have time or the patience for that – I need to be multi-tasking.  And like most people I refuse to admit that I am any less than an expert in multi-tasking. But then… I can say that because I’m okay eating a burned grilled cheese sandwich, or at least I was before Friday. 😉

I’m not going to preach the evils of multi-tasking here.  Sometimes you really need to do it – there are lots of demands on our time.

I am going to preach the good of mono-tasking.

Sometimes we need to just let some things go, allow the clean laundry to sit in a lump on a chair until you – one outfit of at time as you put it on –just wear it straight out of the heap.  Sometimes you need recognize that you can’t make the world right for every child in every moment and they will need to just figure this one out.  Sometimes it’s okay to miss an appointment, or to not ace the spelling test, or play a subpar game because you didn’t practice as much as you might like.

There is goodness to saying today I am only going to do this one thing. I’m going to give it my whole attention, its worthy of my patient and slow application of skill, it’s good to do this to the exclusion of caring for every other voice that wants to get in.  I’m going to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.  Jesus – it is well known – was really good at doing one thing at time.  God – cancelled out other voices, to be wholly present in only one place to only one person… and sometimes that one person was Jesus by himself.  And it was good.  So why is that good enough for Jesus but not us?  Why do we feel we need to maintain the idea that we are more competent than God?

Try something new, not all the time, but pick a day – or an afternoon.  And mono-task.

I’m going to listen to this one person’s story without dividing my attention.

I’m going to take a nap and leave work undone.

I’m going to just make this meal and actually watch the pot until it boils just to make sure my craft is good and true.

I’m going to walk the dog and not think through a to-do list in my head but simply enjoy the sights and sounds of a creative creation all around.

I’m going to do… Because I’m not going to do… and it is good.

I made a perfect grilled cheese sandwich – and it was a spiritual gift.  I’m not going to dwell on what I didn’t do but revel in what I immersed myself in fully.  I made a sandwich, what did you do?

Also a shout out to Nikki Cooley who wrote this piece on the subject as well:

About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on March 3, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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