This process, repeated again and again with lots of different leftover food items, freshly combined to create new dishes, is very satisfying to me. I love creating something new from what was once seen as old and unwanted. It is almost a spiritual exercise for me, reminding me of God's love of taking the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong. It is the stone that the builders rejected becoming the chief cornerstone, the child set on a knee as an example in the midst of the elders.
So, as I was wrapping up leftovers to freeze today, I was also listening to the sounds of my children working on a school project in the other room. They had been given the task of creating a detailed diagram that shows the electromagnetic spectrum, from gigantic radio waves all the way to the tiny gamma rays. They sketched out a diagram and brought it to me to approve.
I informed them that it was an excellent first draft and pointed out several ways to improve it for a final copy. They got back to work.
An hour later, they showed me their "final draft."
I asked about the several places where letters had been poorly formed and scribbled over. I asked about the sloppy boxes hastily drawn around some of the terms. I asked about the description of the diagram, in messy handwriting, crammed into the corner of the page.
I was met with defensiveness. I had to do that because I was out of room! I knew that letter didn't look right, but it was written in colored pencil so I couldn't erase it!
I reminded them that I always recommend that they sketch everything out very lightly in pencil first, make sure everything is where it needs to be and is drawn correctly, and THEN begin to darken in lines and add color. I reminded them that this poster is to hang on the wall and questioned if they thought it was something to be proud of, something that shows their very best efforts.
Sullen faces. A few tears of frustration. And finally, the big question: Are you going to make us do it all over again?
That is the beauty of a draft. A draft allows you to make your mistakes, learn from them. A draft encourages you to be more careful and plan for greater success. A draft, in short, is a mercy. When you are nine or twelve years old, it is a severe mercy. When you are four times that old, it is still a severe mercy, I suppose, but a mercy nonetheless.
How grateful I am to realize that today, this week, this month, this year, this decade have all been drafts. I get to wake up each morning and start over with yesterday's leftovers, having learned from my mistakes and ready to create something better. How grateful I am that my final project is not due until this entire class has been completed. May each draft be continually better than the one before.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (from the third chapter of Philippians, in the Bible)