Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wonderful Work

This past Monday was a holiday...President's Day. Now, this holiday isn't anything amazing, like Christmas or Halloween, but it at least provided me a day off. I work at the University, which is the I love school holidays because not only are there no classes but no work either! Boom. So what did I decide to do on my day off? House work. Yeah yeah, boring I know. But as boring as that day may have sounded, it was fantastic. I find a good sense of accomplishment in doing good old-fashioned chores like laundry and changing sheets. So while I was in the Martha Stewart mode, I decided to go all out. What the heck, I might as well. I tried something brand new. Something that I had never dared try before. Something that I couldn't predict the outcome of. What might this thing be? Baking.

Not just any baking though because you see, baking is not a foreign art in my life. I don't do it as much as I would like due to a busy busy schedule. But I am a pretty mean baker when I want to be. No, this baking was something different. It was baking rolls. Cinnamon rolls.

So, my mama has never been the roll queen in any way. Not dissing her or her amazing cooking skills, but rolls aren't really her strong suit. It think that she has a little bit of a mental block thinking that she can't make them though. Really, they aren't bad. But because of that, homemade rolls are a rare thing in my household. So I decided to give it a wild stab.

I got a really yummy recipe for cinnamon rolls that past week at my IWA activity. My advisor's daughter showed us how to make them and it seemed simple. So after a quick run to Lee's for the proper ingredients, I set off rolling on my journey.

About 4 hours later, my cinnamon rolls were finally finished. I'm not going to lie, there was some frustration during the process including but not limited to: the butter not melting, the dough seeming too sticky, no parchment paper, the recipe telling me to cook it for longer than I should have, etc. However, despite all of my gripes and miniature road blocks, they turned out really good. I was honestly surprised. Even my overly-critical-of food-tell-it-like-it-is brothers gave me praises. And that was all I needed to hear.

The giant cinnamon roll. A necessary part of the roll making process.

Some of the little guys waiting to enter the oven.

The final product. Bon appetite!

There is a real sense of happiness when you work hard. It is not one that can be bought or bribed by anyone. It's that personal feeling of accomplishment and achievement that we can only rightfully earn by simply working. One of my favorite quotes on work is from a General Conference address by Elder D. Todd Christofferson:

"By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires."

Baking cinnamon rolls is such a simple and luxurious form of work in some senses. Real grueling work is hauling hay in the middle of the summer, trying to solve a complex calculus problem, getting up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby when you're running on minimal hours of sleep, putting the finishing touches on a life-size painting, sewing the last stitch after hours of a critical surgery, struggling to defend an innocent man accused of embezzling within a company, mixing concrete for a home's foundation in the freezing cold temperatures of the winter, or playing man to man defense against Kobe Bryant. How can any satisfaction come from something so plain as doing a little baking? I can't explain how, but it surely does. All you chefs out there can completely understand.

I am grateful for the aspect of work. I am lucky to have two formal jobs that provide me with an income and more importantly, with pleasure. I am glad that I have parents who are the prime example of work. I can't think of many people who work harder than my pops. Seriously, this guy works his tail off and never ever complains. What an amazing example. But the ultimate example is that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was always working: in creating this world, in preaching to lost souls during His ministry, and in suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, just to name a few instances. I am thankful to Him for providing us opportunities to work and to feel a sense of accomplishment.

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
-Donald Kendall

I love work. Simple as that.

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