There is something about chaos that begs simplicity. When the world has funneled itself into a tornado, a storm with no end in sight and a blinding eye, I crave baking. It is so easy, you see. Two eggs, two cups of flour, a cup of sugar and cinnamon to taste. Mash three bananas and fold them into the flour alongside soft, pale, sinful butter. I watch the little pats of yesterday’s guilt disappear into their counterparts, invisible and sweet. I can’t wait to taste them, to feel them light up my tongue and dance like chocolate chips poured from the bag to the bowl. But I am not hurried. This, the matching of ingredients and ease of stirring a mixture until it is right, this is hallelujah.
Next, you put it in the oven — but not until it is ready — and wait the appropriate amount of minutes for the toothpick to come home clean. How many things in our daily lives are that simple? How many decisions are made by something as clear as a clean toothpick? I smile as I remove the pan to the stove top to cool. When I am waiting for muffins, for bread, for cupcakes, it is perhaps the only time that I am patient. I don’t fidget when the bread is baking. For some reason, this is the instance in which my mind understands delicious ends take time.
I like to bake on Sundays, although it doesn’t happen often. When I bake it reminds me that once, many years ago, in another time, working was forbidden on the day the Lord gave us for rest. For Him. For ourselves. Puritans could do nothing but meditate and pray; it was a sin to do otherwise. Of course, colonial life was a different sort of exhausting Monday through Saturday. We don’t churn our own butter for banana bread anymore — it comes wrapped in wax paper with little red lines marking how much is bad.
But we exhaust ourselves in other ways, and don’t always take this day, Sunday, his day, Son’s day, for what God intended it to be at the beginning. Baking is so easy compared to the rest of the week, and bread doesn’t lie to you. If you focus, breathe, measure, and wait, the loaf comes out moist and sweet. It is when you do the dishes at the same time that the edges burn.
And then, at the end, comes a slice of something heavenly, all the more so because it was the only thing you did on Sunday.
❤ Inspired by banana bread and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender