I’m not much of a romantic. I don’t, for instance, remember important dates like my first date with my husband. I know it was late-May-ish, and i know that it was 10 years ago. Suddenly, today, i turn the page to June, and realize that we’ve missed our 10-year date-iversary. I may not be a romantic. But, that kind of bums me out. (Luckily, he is not such a romantic either, so neither of us is in trouble…)

Since we didn’t get to go on a special date to mark the day(ish), I’ll do a blog-world shout out. Marriage is a crap-shoot, people. You’ve got to know yourself and love yourself before you can really know or love another person–if that is in place, and you’re pretty sure you’ve found a good deal, you’ll probably be ok. Probably. And even if those things aren’t in place, you might luck out. Might. You think somebody will be a good parent… you hope they will age well and not get too terribly fat. You believe that they can weather life’s challenges without turning into some charicature of Kevin Spacey in that cheerleader movie.  But life happens, things and people change…ultimately, it can go either way. Luckily, I married a man who can half-bake a burger.

He was grilling the other day, and came in with a barely-browned plate of burgers. “yeah…we’re out of gas,” he says. Had it been me, my thoughts would have been to a) toss them and order pizza (=waste, and unnecessary expense);  b) run out and get another tank of gas (=waste of a leisurely holiday evening at home or c) throw them in a skillet (=hocky puck burgers that we would have felt the need to eat anyway).

But this guy–this guy covered them in sauce and baked them in the OVEN. That never would have occurred to me. And here’s where i lucked out. I married the guy who, when faced with a challenge, does the thing that never would have occurred to me–or to most people–and just hopes it might turn out well. It almost always does.

The half-baked approach to life is simple genius, really. You start with what you know, and when that comes up short, you try something else.  You try what nobody else is doing, because sometimes, everybody else missed something.

Maybe it’s because i’m in “transforming church” mode that i can see both a sermon and a love letter in a mostly raw burger.  But our struggling communities of faith would do well to adopt this half-baked approach. Start with what we know. When that doesn’t work, hold onto what is good and beautiful from our past, and let the rest go. Did you know that “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” is really killer with drums behind it? Me neither. But i’m married to a guy who thought to try it because…well, why not?

To me, this is the nature of ministry, marriage, parenting, cooking, writing, or just being a person in the world. Start with what you know…but be watching for the moment when the reserve tank runs out on “what you know” and “the way we’ve always done it.” Be ready to half-bake something that ought to be grilled. Might be the best burger you’ve ever had. Or at least the best risk you ever took.

Happy 10 years(ish) to my rock-star, iron chef, super dad, national-park-roaming, always-a-party, making-it-work-Tim Gunn-style partner. Love came walkin in…


5 comments on “Half-Baked

  1. I love this, Erin. Thank you.

  2. Erin…you are my hero. love you! but darn you, now I want a burger…

  3. “Marriage is a crap-shoot, people.” Indeed. I think luck is necessary but not sufficient for a happy marriage. I think it is helpful for those who are looking but have not found someone to hear that.* Likewise, conscious effort is an essential to component to, but no guarantee of, a strong marriage, right?

    But if you are lucky enough to find someone, and you give that relationship the care and feeding it requires, it really is a heck of a thing. I don’t know any factor that is more predictive of a person being happy than a person being in a happy relationship.

    I’m happy to read that you’ve found your “rock-star, iron chef, super dad, national-park-roaming, always-a-party, making-it-work-Tim Gunn-style partner,” and glad you let yourself be a little more sentimental than usualy to share it with us.


    *Not to be confused with those who are not looking. As awesome as marriage is for me, I certainly respect those who are not interested.

  4. Good insights, Jim. I agree it takes nurturing (some would call that “work!”)… And you know, i, too, try to be inclusive of all who “aren’t interested” (in blogging, and in preaching) and are intentionally single. However, healthy relationships are so important for those folks, too, and truths of marriage can generally translate to all of our connections.

  5. Hats off to Jeremy! I’ve been rocking the half-baked approach for at least a few years now, and I have to say, I’ve never been happier, more creative, or more fulfilled. This, despite (honestly, more because of) some rather unfortunate medical news that’s come trickling in during those years.

    Your 10-year(ish) dativersary falls very near my 12-year anniversary, and I’ve been in similar love-letter mode. Marriage IS a crap-shoot, and Rhyan and I took a huge gamble marrying in our very early 20’s after only a year of really knowing one another, but it was the best gamble–and biggest payoff–of my life.

    Here’s to good men.

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