Do you ever feel like you’re just all twisted up in knots?
Like all the stressful events happening in your life just latch onto your insides making your stomach twist and turn more than Chubby Checker teaching everyone in the 60’s how to learn a new dance craze.
Or physically when everything – muscles, ligaments, tendons – in your body decides to revolt against you resulting in the feeling that you’ve been rolled out by a heavy hand, turned and twisted like a pretzel.
Often I find myself twisted. And I have to remind myself that it’s usually me that stresses myself, me that let’s my stomach knot. Me, me, me. It’s all about me.
“Ego and pride is a two headed twist.” ~ T.F. Hodge
But it’s not all about me. The world does not revolve around me. Nor does it require my two cents to continue to revolve around the sun.
I find myself twisted when I focus on myself instead of on God. When I don’t rely on my Savior. When I don’t trust Him to work things out, smooth things over, untie the knots that bind me.
When I don’t allow Him to untwist my pretzel self.
Back in late summer, we took a little respite away from home for just a couple of days to unwind a bit. We traveled to a popular tourist area in our own state and our middle daughter and granddaughter accompanied us on our little jaunt.
One of the fun spots we visited was the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. We learned a mouthful about pretzels there and we stuffed our mouths with that yummy snack too.
Back in the 1700’s, German immigrants, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch, began baking “soft” pretzels. That was the norm back then; there was no such thing as eating hard pretzels.
But one day, baker Julius Sturgis over-baked a batch of pretzels resulting in hard, what was thought to be inedible, pretzels. But instead of throwing them out to the animals, as was usually done when pretzels were over-baked, he decided to taste them.
He liked the result, so he began deliberately baking hard pretzels. They were a hit and he opened the first commercial pretzel bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania in 1861.
We not only learned about how the pretzels we eat today got their beginnings, but we got to practice shaping a pretzel as well. The story of that distinctive shape is very interesting.
Legend has it that a monk in 610 AD in either Italy or France invented the pretzel when he decided to devise a way to reward little children for memorizing their prayers during the Lenten season. He took some unleavened bread dough and twisted it so it resembled arms crossed in prayer.
While touring the colonial aged building where Julius Sturgis’ pretzel bakery originated, a tour guide talked us through a hands-on demonstration as so we could shape our own pretzels. First we were given a lump of dough (similar to play-dough).
Next we were instructed with the official Sturgis Bakery directions:
- Twisting a pretzel starts with rolling a string of dough 12 inches long.
- Then form a U shape with the dough. This represents a child’s prayers going up to heaven.
- Cross the ends of the dough to form an X, then twist one time. The knot represents the union of marriage between the child’s parents.
- Pull the ends of the dough down and press them unto the bottom of the pretzel.
- The three openings represent the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The shape also resembles a child’s arms crossed in prayer.” (from Sturgis Pretzel Bakery information sheet)
Who knew? We surely didn’t.
We are a family of pretzel lovers and we just so happen to live in the state where about 80% of America’s pretzels are made. If you’ve never eaten a Pennsylvania pretzel, you don’t know what you’re missing.
At the end of our tour, we each were given a complimentary bag of Sturgis pretzels. Delicious.
Now every time I eat a pretzel, I think of the meaning behind the original pretzel shape. And what I really need to remember is when I feel twisted up like a pretzel, I must raise my pretzel arms in prayer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
That’s when I will be untwisted.
“Sometimes God writes straightforward in twisted lines.” ~Gloria Trevi