My love of baking yeast breads began in 4-H. I still have my 40-year-old project book that explains the important role that each ingredient plays in the finished product. I always loved the science of yeast breads and the need to be patient in each step. Standing in front of the kitchen window kneading the dough gives me time to think and pause in an otherwise busy day. To me it feels like a living being of sort as it responds to the kneading and eventually becomes the right consistency.
I still use my 4-H project book.
I’ve been remembering how my dad and I would say the Lord’s Prayer at the end of each visit to the nursing home. It began when I taught a Sunday School class about the Lord’s Prayer and then discussed it with Dad that afternoon. Bread is a symbol for everything we need for preservation of life. When we ask for our “daily bread” we are asking for a very large, encompassing gift – that we get the job we interviewed for, that we get rain for the crops, that we have shelter from the storm. We tend to forget that we are asking for the necessities, not the luxuries. I would hold Dad’s hands and we would pray and then I would say, “Daily bread, Dad. We have everything we need.” I thought I was helping him to see we all had enough; that he didn’t have to be anxious and afraid.
Now I see that I never really understood that concept myself. All those times I reassured him we had all we needed, I was worried about my career, financial issues, my kids, my marriage, and about feeling like I had no control over my own life.
Here I sit with Stage IV cancer and I finally see that I have absolutely no control over my life and never have and am not supposed to. My career issues are meaningless now. My financial issues are not gone but certainly don’t keep me awake at night. The problems my kids have faced in the years since my dad died have been a thousand times worse than the problems they had when I was reassuring Dad we had all we needed. But I have learned they need to face their own problems so they can live independent of me – not without me, necessarily, but rather they need to be able to function as adults. (And they are all doing that as they navigate college and early adult life.) My marriage is the best thing going for me in life and I have the best helpmate and partner in life. I couldn’t get through this cancer journey without his unwavering support. I am blessed with an abundance of Daily Bread.
Are you up there smiling at me, Dad? I finally learned what I was trying to teach you.
My dad playing Bingo while my mom’s dog, Ginger, naps on the table