As I listened to a rebroadcast of this talk on Monday morning, I found myself in a bread-baking mood. I mixed together the easiest, yummiest, moistest (is that a word?…I’m really tired this morning) bread, which makes three loaves. As they came out of the oven, the glorious smell of deliciousness filled my home like the warm feeling of a hearth on a winter’s day.
I allowed them to cool, shared one with my family as an after-school snack, and wrapped the other two to take to neighbors. We delivered one that evening.
The next day, I still had one large loaf of beautiful, golden, crispy-on-the-outside, moist-and-delicious-on-the-inside, homemade bread to share. I sent one of my kiddos to another neighbor who doesn’t speak much English.
My little one came back with loaf in hand. “She didn’t want it. She said, ‘I have bread.'”
I felt a little deflated. In all my years of baking and delivering goodies to friends, family, and neighbors, never have I been refused. Now, I am not angry or upset; I realize we come from different cultures and generations, which gives me a little bit of peace with the hurt.
Another moment of peace came this morning, after a long night with a sick child. I walked into a dark, 4 a.m. kitchen to get medicine for one of my little people and noticed the loaf of bread, still carefully wrapped to preserve moisture, sitting on the counter just on the outside of the beam of light over the oven. The thought that came in that moment was that I made that bread for me. 🙂
I couldn’t have done it today for myself, but the act of service that I did in the spirit of sharing with others came back to me. I felt a moment of sadness that I took my neighbor’s refusal of the gift personally, while, moments later, I felt the relief of bringing a gift to myself and my family on a really hard day.
And I was grateful.
And, in case you are interested in making bread, here is my *favorite* bread recipe, delivered once to me on another hard day out of the blue by my friend, Kim.
Kim’s Yummy Bread Recipe
8-9 cups all-purpose (or bread) flour
1/4 cup oil or shortening
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons instant yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
3 cups warm water
Mix and knead (about 5 minutes). Let rise one hour. Shape into 3 loaves (I like to roll them under a bit, like French bread), and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake @ 400 degrees for about 24 minutes.