Ongoing Lesson #332–Just Ask

One little loaf of coconut chocolate bread

Baked on Wednesday

Just for me…

All week I’ve been wondering about myself. Last weekend was a douzy–as I baked enough bread to feed over 200 people. It was the first time I’ve ever taken on that level of production in my little home oven and though I had fun turning my kitchen into Command Central, the amount of flour and buttermilk and swirls with the wooden spoon almost did me in. No, the mixing wasn’t so bad, now that I look back, and the baking, with all those loaves piling up, was quite fun. It was the slicing. Hunched over the cutting board in the church kitchen, I was wishing desperately for one of those old fashioned electric slicers I used in high school when I worked at my dad’s bakery. There’s a lovely long silver lever that pulls open the blades. You place the bread in the back of the slicer, let go of the lever, pull a knob open in the front, and the machine noisily cuts thick or thin or somewhere-in-between slices in four fabulous seconds.

Last weekend, when I was sawing my way through loaf number 14 or so of the thick-crusted soda bread, I felt a blister develop on my right palm. God is so good. In walked my husband and I smiled, then handed over our dulling bread knife. Have at it, Oh, Mighty Husband of Mine! He slices bread beautifully…

Anyway, the day following the Big Bake I headed over to our church school and had an awesome time speaking to the kids about Saint Brigid and making crosses. They are precious little munchkins. A full day–but so fun.

But come Tuesday I was beat. I’d been baking and blogging like crazy all January, and still with one big event on the horizon–one more Saint Brigid baking adventure with thirty or so women from our church (tomorrow).

So, it didn’t surprise me too much, when late Tuesday night I mixed only one batch of bread for the next day’s bake. As I was quickly stirring the water into the flour, and coconut, and chocolate mix (something I’d been wanting to try all January but didn’t because it didn’t seem very fifth century!) I knew I was being stingy. I was full of yawns and sleepy thoughts, and yet, what excuse was that? I’m full of yawns most every night when I mix my next day’s bread. I was purposefully leaving my neighbor out of this. To be truthful, I didn’t much care.

This both surprised me, and didn’t. I can be contrary–even to myself. On the one hand, I know that writers, mothers, folks in general, all need seasons of breaks to regroup and catch their breath. With several big events sitting on the back side of my week, and another big event still to come, one measly loaf of bread seemed just fine in the middle. And yet…  I didn’t sign up to bake just for me. I didn’t.

So, I come to you a bit ashamed. I went dormant and bare, like the oak pictured above–that beautiful oak that we found in our snowy mountains only two weeks ago. But that snowy oak is supposed to be dormant and bare! Aha, there’s the catch. That snowy oak, despite his season of rest, still holds out his branches to the birds. So, the comparison isn’t even fair. He sticks to his purpose, season in and season out, and I don’t. He’s got a spirit of giving wrapped all around those beautiful bare branches, and my spirit of giving shriveled into one loaf of delicious, yet very selfish coconut chocolate bread baked just for me and those who sit daily around my table. (It figures chocolate would somehow figure into the equation!!!)

I hope I learned yet another lesson this week–to stick to the sharing plan, even when tired. I didn’t think I had the strength to mix another batch, to give yet another batch–and I probably didn’t. But we all know that there’s more strength to be had if we just ask.

Forgive me, Lord. I didn’t even ask.