I was walking home yesterday afternoon, when it occurred to me.
I love to cook eggs. I’d been cooking eggs every morning, in the same pan, for three years. It was a black pan with a red bottom, as I liked to envision my future kitchen being kind to black pans with red bottoms. But this pan, had seen better days. The surface of the pan was shredding, and each morning more bits of egg would cling to more bits of iron, and surely I was eating more iron than was found in the eggs alone. And each morning, as I was earnestly scraping bits of egg from between the threads of raised, raw metal, I would tell myself I needed to get a new pan.
But I didn’t. Each day, I would cook eggs in the thoroughly aggravating way, with the thoroughly aggravating pan. And even took to microwaving the eggs so I wouldn’t have to deal with the pan. The pan with the red bottom. The pan that had been the first real piece I’d bought when I moved into my last apartment. My first apartment to myself in several years. And so I kept this damned pan, cursing it, and each day putting it back in the cupboard. After all, I am a student, living on student loans; I couldn’t really afford a pan right now. Plus my car was stolen a little while ago, so I couldn’t really get to the store that would sell the kind of pan I wanted anyway. And so on…
Until. One morning. I’d had enough. I put the pan in the garbage can.
The next day I took it out. Washed it, ripping up another sponge, and used it.
A few weeks later, I put it in the garbage can again, and took the garbage out to the building’s dumpster. The pan was no longer useful to me. Or to anyone really. It was now, after years of good service, not suited to my needs.
Two days later, I was walking home and out front of the apartment building next to mine, someone had put a box of moving-out items: mugs, magazines, candles, and… a pan. The pan wasn’t what I wanted it to be – medium sized Teflon with a red bottom – but it was exactly what I needed. A pan, with a smooth cooking surface, in reasonable condition. I took it home.
And so, I remembered the pan story as I was walking home yesterday afternoon. Not long ago, I’d ended a relationship that was not working for me. I had been waffling on that decision lately, agonizing over whether I had done the right thing. Wasn’t “good enough” good enough? Why isn’t “good enough” good enough for me? Can’t it have been?
And so, I remembered the pan story. If my Higher Power, or the Universe, is able to put a pan perfect for my use directly in my path just when I needed it, isn’t that same power able to provide me with a relationship that is mutually wonderful just when I’ll need it? I realized then, that perhaps, Yes. Perhaps relationships, as with kitchenware, are under G-d’s domain, and I can let it go, leave it be, and continue to walk in my life until I come across the relationship-sized box.
(P.S. My goal by the end of the week is to buy myself a new, red-bottomed, Teflon pan.)