I’m ten or twelve posts into this blog and I’m staring at the screen this morning in a bit of a crisis: I don’t have a recipe.
The crisis is self-induced, I suppose. After looking at a number of food blogs, I’ve let myself feel the pressure of falling into their pattern. My posts can’t just be about what I have to say; I have to have a recipe. Well, I’m writing this morning to talk myself out of that perspective. The primary point of creating this blog — fro me — was to write. Writing about the way food, faith, friends, and family wind in and out of each other in our day-to-day existence is what fascinates me. When, along the way, I come across a recipe that is worth bringing to the table, I’ll pass it along, but I am feeding another appetite here.
The last week in our lives here on the South Shore of Massachusetts has left me keenly aware of difficult life is. Several people we know are in deep pain: one is in the hospital dealing with heart problems; another is at the end of her rope after a year and a half of undiagnosed illness; another is in a fierce custody battle over her two boys; and several have been bitterly hurt by the way some things have played out at the church I serve. None of the situations can be solved by a kind word and a box of cookies, regardless of how good the recipe is, and yet, “how can I help?” seems like an important question — even if I can’t answer it well.
Whether the pain attacks us or is self-inflicted, it’s still pain. Like Michael Stipe sings, everybody hurts. That’s stating the obvious. The struggle deepens when the wounds are open and the nerves are exposed. Too often, we recoil into isolation, which only makes things hurt worse. I’m hurting from some things said to me last night, and from watching the way people beat up on each other in a church meeting that didn’t have to be such a train wreck. And I know I’m not the only one.
When the apostle Paul gave instructions about Communion to the church at Corinth, he told them not to come to the table until they had forgiven those with whom they would share the meal and asked for forgiveness. What he knew was you can’t be filled with bitterness and expect to make room for grace. One of them has got to go.
We take Communion the first Sunday of every month, which means I have some work to do between now and February 5, which actually brings me back to plates of cookies and banana bread. The best peace offerings travel best with food as a companion.
When I figure out what I’m making, I’ll share the recipe.