The Shadow Of Swedish Meatblls

January 6, 2013

We have some very nice baking sheets.  Yes, we usually call them cookie sheets, but they are used for so much more than cookies.  These baking sheets are made by one of the best and oldest companies in the business, if that kind of think matters to you. It matters to me, because I like to bake, so good cookie sheets, er, baking sheets are important.

One of the favorite things we have made on our baking sheets is an old family recipe of Diane’s for Swedish meatballs.  I love ‘em.  Every Christmas since I’ve known Diane we have had them, and for almost as long as we have been married we have been making them together.  We always make enough so that we have leftovers for a week.  If you have ever had Swedish meatballs at IKEA you have a wee bit of an idea of how good ours are.  They easily qualify as my favorite holiday food.  (Sorry mom.)

It’s a multi-step process of baking and simmering, and for a dozen years or more we have used the same baking sheets to make our Swedish meatballs.  If you look at them, you can see the shadow of Swedish meatballs on the surface of the sheets.  It doesn’t affect the cooking ability or any function, our chocolate chip cookies don’t look, smell or taste like Swedish meatballs, but the shadow is always there.  Probably imprinted years ago when I made the oven too hot, or left them in a little too long, you can see the size, shape, and distance apart of each meatball.

But I would prefer to think that the shadow is there because of all of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of meatballs we have made together in our kitchen(s) over the decades.  I think the shadow is there to remind me of the loving time Diane and I have together preparing holiday meals.  Reminders of her 100% Swedish father and her 100% Dutch mother.  Reminders even of the meals we had with my family.  They don’t understand the mystic of Swedish meatballs, I must confess.

Whenever I make anything with those baking sheets, I smile at the memory of, the shadows of Swedish meatballs.

These baking sheets remind me of my life.  They make me realize that my habits, my hobbies, my repeated behaviors are creating a shadow, as surely as the sun in the desert casts a shadow of everything that happens there.  So I have to stop and think.  Are the shadows, the memories I am creating, those that I want to cast?  They are a shadow of my heart, is it a good and honorable shadow?

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”  (Proverbs 23: 7 NASB)   The King James Version says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.  Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  We create shadows by our thoughts, because our thoughts produce our character.  And it is our character that casts a shadow.  And unlike the shadow cast be the Sun, our character shadow remains, like the shadow of Swedish meatballs, a constant reminder of what once was, of who we are.

So the questions I will leave with you today are these:

  • What are the things in your heart that are creating lasting shadows?
  • Are you casting the shadows you want to cast?
  • What do you need to change to cast the shadow you want?
  • What needs to change, or stay the same to leave the legacy you want to leave behind?

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