Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cake Inspired Thoughts

One of the things I love about teaching at Davis is the brilliance of my coworkers, particularly the ones in the English Department. We've got actors (ones who've been in real movies, not just the movies on public access cable), published authors, and classical composers. One of these gems teaches two doors down from me, and I love the randomness of our interactions. Sometimes we just holler at each other... "COOPER!!" "TRAUB!" Sometimes he brings in culinary delights... pumpkin scones, cupcakes, and this year's favorite: apple-pear cheesecake, made from scratch. Oh baby. And sometimes, he brings by copies of his newly written poetry. He wrote one a month ago that I found yesterday as I was organizing my desk.

I'm a baker by hobby.
I have this kick-ass cake recipe
That is made up of the usual dry ingredients
And then nothing but whipped cream.
The tricky part is folding the dry ingredients into the whipped cream
Gently enough, slowly enough, knowing when
Enough is enough.
White on white. Dry on wet.
Oddly, it works
Like mixing cement for a post-hole:
Without much effort, the ingredients blend
And hold.

I trust that my spirit is like that--
All the unresolveds, the irreconcilables
Sit on the surface and then, later
After you've not thought about them awhile
They are still unresolved, but mixed in
A part of you
And it's okay -- not it's not okay,
It has become fertile ground for wisdom.

The poem continues, but that part just stops me every time. I love the prosaic first stanza, the pluralization of the adjective unresolved, the fact that it starts with cake. But most of all, I love the hope it offers, the hope that the things that sit on my life-- that are in it but don't quite fit in it-- that those things will get worked in somehow. While I am an advocate of self-awareness, there are some things that I simply can't perceive right away; it takes some time to see the lines, to learn the lessons.

The last season of my life has been challenging, with ministry stuff and relationship stuff and health stuff. And while I always want to be open to receive fresh insight about old things, I also feel like God has given some wisdom in the last few weeks: clearer directions about vocation and calling, clearer perceptions of what resonates within my own heart, clearer invitations towards Him and away from the things that I would use to replace Him.

Some of the unresolveds are mixing in, and the blend of circumstance and Providence is looking less like a confusing smattering of ingredients and more like a sweet something that can be tasted and seen as evidence that the Lord is good. It might not be all frosted and decorated just yet, but it's ridiculously good nonetheless.

Let's hear it for cake.

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