Monday, September 2, 2013

She Maka da Bread.

Over another frozen pizza picked up while running last minute errands this weekend, my husband and I both lamented to one another how this summer was our most elusive yet. It seemed just days ago we were opening up the pool and dreaming of outdoor barbecues with friends, and now here I sit with the windows open, the leaves outside our driveway already beginning to fall, and talk of trips to the orchard on our calendar. As children we are told how quickly time will come to elude us, to enjoy the days of our fleeting youth. And so a small part of me is tempted to believe that these split second seasons shouldn't come as a surprise. That I ought to accept the inevitability of it all. But then I catch glimpses of things like the neighborhood children playing baseball at dusk or the elderly woman in her garden on my way home from work as she softly tends to each vine ripened tomato. It is in those moments when I know deep down in my bones that I cannot admit defeat. That somewhere, somehow, we are meant for more than a race. That we were built for hard work, but never built for busyness. God used this fleeting summer and a few of those still moments in between to teach me that this skin covered soul doesn't have to be lost to the tide of the hours.

Out of His kind dealings with me something a tad out of my comfort zone has come about in the form of an offering. It is quite small actually, but an offering none the less. And I'm trusting He will do with it as He always does with these types of surrender. Bless and multiply.

On this alter lies a stack of dusty cook books, an old wooden spoon, and a lot of flour.
Each with the growing hope that the act of baking bread once a week and taking the waiting in between to write might be just one of the ways that God wants to teach me this art of stopping time...or at the very least giving it a run for it's money.

Fresh bread was always part of the DNA of our family life. On the way out the door to school or coming home from school for that matter. The seasons always changed but the presence of "the bread" was always a constant. Some days we'd help make it, other days we'd sit at the counter working on home work as the aroma carried us through until an evening snack. And while I do remember having some really great tasting kinds of bread, it's everything that came along with it that I remember so fondly. Things like warmth, fullness, a sense of patience and sore arms. Even things like knowing the importance of each ingredient to it's success and how nothing is too small to make a big difference.

Whatever my family ends up looking like years from now, I don't want us to miss out on a good loaf of homemade bread, just because I've labeled myself a "bad cook". But even more importantly, I don't want us to miss out on everything that accompanies the discipline of it simply because I let my calendar carry more weight than my Bible.

To be still. To "Live Life Slow" as Starlight Radio sings. Some may call me neive for thinking that a loaf of bread can do this while simultaneously UN-doing a workweek of stress,grocery shopping,picking up dog hair etc. And to those critics I would say that it's of course not about the product but rather about the process. That, and perhaps I would also tell them that clearly they have never truly had a good slice of bread.

And so, it will never be about the food itself, but rather what I find along with it while waiting for it to rise, cook, and cool on the rack. Things like I was able to find tonight.

Like the warmth of my sleeping dog, resting on my bare feet.
Or being able to hear the children's laughter echo down the sidewalks as the cicadas carry on their ceaseless tune. Or contemplating the way the flour feels on my hands as I knead out the dough while marveling at the wonder of it all, how women just like me have been kneading bread for centuries in their kitchens.

Tonight's batch of Rustic White Bread is out of the oven. It's crust is golden brown and crunches in my hand beneath the oven mitt. I am euphoric. But not because I managed to produce something actually edible and somewhat resembling the picture of the finished product. But because I just finished my first class in time travel. And the joys I found along the 3 hour journey are some that I have not had the pleasure of experiencing in a while. All because I was stripped of my schedule, and prompted to don an apron for one night instead.

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