It rained, and I toasted the pecans with oats and honey into a granola, the way my mother made it. I use a recipe card written in her own scrawl with some of the blue ink smeared.
I feel so close to her right now. Cereal bowl in hand and a heart full of warm, I sit at the patio table. The yellow dog sits at my side, hopeful for a crumb, but nothing falls.
I chew and swallow the sweet crumbles. And something else not in the bowl—an unease. I’ve almost forgotten what it tastes like. But it’s there this morning.
It’s weekend unease from too many weekends that didn’t have enough honey, brown sugar, and oil to hold the crumbs together savory and warm. Too many weekends where the ingredients for nourishing sweet times lay cold on a baking sheet and were bumped carelessly and scattered to the floor.
I have cried sweeping weekends up off the floor. I have tossed them into the trash and buried them down deep. It’s a hard lump to swallow.
How do I keep swallowing when it tastes like broken trust? Feels like soul indigestion? It just doesn’t go down right. I have curled into a ball just breathing through it, breathing through the panic when everything that was supposed to be a certain way, wasn’t. Even though now the honey is sweet and warming, I think of when the crumbs were scattered and stomped on, even though now they are not.
It can’t really be explained. There are just reasons because life gives reasons. And I guess I’m really separating the then from the now, what was from what is.
My heart stampedes like a wild horse, and sometimes the reins fly out of my hands.
So I cling to His Word-His Word is reign. I grab hold, and His Word gets the stampede under control. I lean across the sheets of holy pages in bed, and wild horse is subdued.
I have needed to separate the kernels, spread them out before me like sesame seeds, oats, pecans, and wheat bran on a baking sheet, just to see what is what. I've divided the kernels into what is known and what is mystery and what is buried deep and causing my lungs to burn, my heart to scare, and my head to spin light.
I've separated kernels as much as I can. It’s a little sticky and yeasty because life's a little messy that way.
But there’s communion also and Communion with a capital C. Bring life to the table. Set it up around the table, and seat it there—the Judas stuff and the trustworthy stuff. Christ breaks the bread, saying, “Partake of Me, and remember Me even here and now.”
I’m at this table, and I’m remembering Christ with every breath for life. He knows all about sticky family history and messy life, and His heart has raced too.
I swallow truth. Every kernel is clumped in honey.
I partake of the Bread.
Sweet and wholesome-Truth and Life.
Bread of Life.
Bread come down from heaven.
This bread of the hard thanksgiving is broken, and I’m told what it is. “This is My body,” Christ says.
And there is this bread of the wilderness. I’m not told what it is, just manna, meaning “What is it?”
I think about the bread at my table, the oddly shaped loaf that I occasionally pull out of my oven and serve at dinner. It’s easy for me to forget the kernel when I make my five-pound-bag purchase of King Arthur whole-wheat flour. I even watch the yeast bubble alive.
I think about the clumpy granola just cooled and bagged for breakfast—kernels and seeds and the bran and even the honey-sweetened oil. Hmm. Yeast and oil. Something spiritual here.
I’m more in touch with the “Do this in remembrance of Me” mystery when I’m cracking pecan shells or kneading, and somehow I see it more clearly when I pour the granola or slice the bread.
It’s what goes into it, and it’s seeing what it is—known and unknown.
The body of Christ is given as bread. I eat this bread at the Passover table to remember Him.
Sometimes I swallow manna bread when I have no idea what’s going down.
I’m curious about manna. How could I not be when it’s called “What is it?” I Google and find that in Hebrew it means “bread of the face of God.”
Ah, I really like that.
I separate kernels, grains, and some nuts on my baking sheet. It’s not just about baking. It’s also practice that I need when separating the seeds from the nuts that are part of my genetics, and my husband’s. We are grainy folk. He is hearty rye from German ancestry and, what am I? A Scotch-French not-so-hearty baguette and short bread.
Can I separate life issues as Christ did? Can I care about the issues of loved ones, the wrong things and the right things they have held or resisted holding in their hands, and not be controlled by any of it? How do I care without becoming controlled? Christ was not controlled by anyone at the table, or by their issues, or by anything they represented. He knew what was at hand and on the table and did nothing to control any of it. I eat bread in remembrance of the One who shared the last meal, undaunted when Judas’ hand received the bread. Christ gave it to him. He did! And He did not miss a beat.
And maybe this is the unease. I am controlled, altered, by what’s at hand. I am! And this little codependent admits to controlling the whats in life in an attempt to be unaltered by them. Only it doesn’t work, and Jesus did just the opposite, and that does work. I don’t know how. Yet methinks I have a lot to learn from this.
Can I gather kernels, twist and roll sheaves, and eat the bread remembering the body of Christ? With my head in the right place? Heart steady? Unaltered by whatever else is facing me?
Can I do the hard pisteuo even one labored breath at a time? Inhale, “Thank,” and exhale, “You,” because the bread is the body of Christ and is the “bread of the face of God.”
I must. It is relief.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig
(adapted from my book PISTEUO! Connecting with God's Heart)