The Tortilla Makers Prayer
I’ll admit, I’ve been on a bit of a mission. I’m not quite sure where it started, but one day a few years ago I woke up with the unshakeable desire to make soft, fresh, homemade corn tortillas from scratch. Granted, I have absolutely zero experience in this venture aside from being an avid lover of tacos. And not even tacos on soft, fresh, homemade corn tortillas… I’ll eat them, but I much rather prefer my tasty fillings in a flour tortilla or crunchy shell. Gastronomical preferences aside, the mission was set and my determination was rigid so off to the store I went to buy some masa and a tortilla press.
The sterling, authentic-looking tortilla press sat brilliantly on my countertop for over a year, proclaiming my corn flour pressing prowess that I did not yet actually possess. The masa, on the otherhand, went from the store into the fridge and actually came along with me on three different moves.
Yes, I packed and moved the masa with me on multiple occasions but never actually opened up the package to give it a try.
Finally I just threw the package out and stored the tortilla press away with my other ne’er used kitchen gadgets. Whenever the hankering to press out some tortillas really took hold again, I figured, I could spring another $1.99 for a new package.
Well my friends… that day was today. Fresh (unexpired) bag of masa in hand, tortilla press out and ready to go, 5-year-old child at the ready to make some sweet mother/daughter kitchen memories, I mixed up some (surprisingly easy to make) dough and began the process. It was fabulous… a fabulous, fabulous mess. From the tortillas being way too small, perhaps too dry, to a questionable cooking process and dough sticking on everything (whoever is creating the new & improved tortilla press, please note that it should have a non-stick mechanism that does not require the addition of plastic wrap or waxed paper). The five-year-old quite promptly – and understandably – abandoned ship.
- No seriously, what are these things?!
Though I knew there would be some kind of learning curve, I guess I did have some oddly placed dream in the back of my mind that my my skills may be so good that friends would soon joke at parties about how I should give up writing and just make hand crafted tortillas full-time. With so many other things a mother has to do on any given day and with so many actual, delicious tortillas readily available and inexpensive at any local store it would seem the logical thing to do was just wipe the 25 cents worth of dough off my hands and call it a day on the tortilla making.
But something entirely different began to take over me. (Spoiler alert: No, I do not become a Tortilla Maker Extraordinaire by the end of this tale).
I began to lean into the process itself. The learning. The attempts. The repetition. And I began to offer it all up to God. All my messy, weird, thick little tortillas… up to God. Every morning for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get into the habit of saying the Morning Offering Prayer, in which we say “I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day.” But this was the first time I tangibly felt it happening. Suddenly this 15 minutes of tortilla making (okay, okay… tortilla attempting) wasn’t just some futile human effort. There was something divine in the mix. There was a peace that overcame my kitchen and a peace that overcame my soul.
I began to see life in the dough. All the things I’d tried and failed at, all the things in which I’d tried again and found success. I saw my imperfections, soooo many imperfections, and I saw the redeeming power of humility. And as I continued rolling and pressing, rolling and pressing, my meditation began to form a sort of prayer.
Lord, may I always have a humility in all things my hands touch, knowing there is nothing I do or make without You. Grant me a lighthearted joy in situations where there may otherwise be frustration. Grant me the tenacity to see things through even when it may not be my preference. Thank You for the time and the abilities that You’ve given me and which You grow within me each day. Bless the work of my hands Lord and the work of my heart, no matter how messy and imperfect, that in the reflection of Your divinity they will glorify You.
As my prayer and my dough finished, I stepped away from my completed pile of chubby little discs contemplating how the heck I might be able to incorporate them into the meal cycle this week. When I walked back into the kitchen, I found my one-year-old son on the floor with a half-eaten tortilla in hand and huge smile on his face. Watching him nosh away at those thick, fresh, homemade tortillas full of goodness and mama love I realized that perhaps this right here is what the mission I began a few years ago was about in the first place.
Long before I ever knew this young man would come into our existence, God put the desire on my heart to make him what turned out to be the perfect little toddler snack food.
And so I add to my prayer… God grant me the peace and the patience to remember that all things work together according to Your will and your timing – even my tortilla making skills.
- Hmmm… there may be hope for my tortilla-making side venture yet…