My grandmother’s pressure cooker rattled and sputtered on the stove like a steaming spitting monster and I was afraid of it. For good reason, I was told. My grandmother wanted to be sure I wouldn’t get too close to it, but there wasn’t much chance of that. I always gave that pot a wide berth, going out of my way to stay away from its strange rattling and spewing. While I loved the green beans that came out of it, saturated with the flavor of onion and bacon, I wasn’t crazy about the pot.
My mother never used a pressure cooker, so I never had a chance to reevaluate my relationship with the strange, unpredictable, dangerous thing. I thought pressure cookers to be outdated as a mode of cooking, long ago giving way to more conventional methods of steaming and microwaving. In fact, if you’re younger than me, which now more than half the population is (I don’t know this to be fact at all but so it seems so) you might not even know what a pressure cooker is.
Well. . .they are still out there. (Jaws music is playing in my head)
But they have come a long way, baby. They no longer throw off those sweaty boiling tears as they cook, and they have become much more well-behaved, even sophisticated and quiet. I know this because I recently looked up my old enemy.
When liquid inside the pot boils, it is trapped inside the pot. Having no release, the steam builds up pressure. The pressure of the trapped steam creates the PSI or pound of force per square inch, which all pressure cookers use to do their job. The pressure cooker works alone, but fast. Very efficient, it can take a pot full of meat or vegetables and get them cooked in no time, but what goes on inside the pot still seems a little unpredictable and dangerous.
This is like my life. Some women are crock-pots; some women are traditional stove top soup pots… I am a pressure cooker. I work alone and I’m quite efficient, but I build up a lot of steam inside on a daily basis. Left unattended, it’s possible I can explode (or break down in tears)—leaving the remains of whatever was in the pot on the walls, in the corners and on the ceiling of the kitchen. Oopsie. So I have to watch my life carefully, like that old, dangerous pot: I can’t overfill it, or let it get too hot, and I have to make sure nothing is blocking the release valve that lets the steam escape in healthy ways.
Laughter is one of the good release valves on my pressure cooker, and I value it immensely. Time spent with God, reading and in prayer, keeps my life from getting too hot. I have to work to keep my priorities simple or I find I have overfilled my pot.
Lord, give us wisdom to manage the pressure in our lives. Show us how to keep from exploding or boiling over or turning everything on the inside into mush.
Dinner is ready!