On baking a cake…

I think at one point or another we each decide to finally take a great chance and bake a cake.
Recalling the myriad of types, flavors and the like that we have tried throughout our lives we begin the painstaking process of deciding which one will get our very best effort. For some, there have been many tried, their taste, though interesting, not complete enough to settle on as being a favorite. A fear of committing that creates anxiety perhaps? For others, the choices have been fewer though in their hearts they struggle feeling they have found that which holds the greatest appeal, yet are terrified they are missing out on some better delight and refuse to acknowledge their hearts desire.
Cakes, as their bakers, are singular; no two ever alike. For with the slightest change in ingredients, or amount of time required to create them, the results will be quite different from what we see in our minds eye, or more importantly, in our heart of hearts. Any variance or shortcut from what must take place to succeed will bring the greatest of disappointments.
I have learned, as hard as it is for me, that patience is the key. Because even after lovingly preparing it, the cake must bake in its own time and we cannot hurry it along or wish it to be other than what it is. Alone in the kitchen, we collect the ingredients, some having been abandoned for too long a time, disregarded as to how wonderful they are, and decide to create that which others have overlooked or found unappealing. I have come to understand and truly believe, the ingredients, in so many ways, also pick the baker and the two then become joined. It can be no other way.
I have never thought of myself as a baker, much easier and safer has it been to simply be a consumer. In that way I never had to take a chance and put forth any effort and could then sit back and judge the efforts of others. But as the years blend one upon the next, the hypocrisy of living that way gives way to the desire to at least try. In the end, I am certain all dreams consist not in what the final outcome will be, but only in the effort and willingness to at least try. Is that not then what a dream is?
So it is when making our relationships what they are. Before touching any ingredients or collecting any tools, it is vital we look directly into the mirror of our own lives. Without that candid vision even a king can never see what an honest pauper is graced to know is true. With that honesty and integrity intact, only then can we reach beyond our fear and truthfully connect with another. Then and only then, can a cake be baked; its ingredients lovingly fashioned from the inside out because no amount of icing can disguise a cake poorly constructed. And above all, it must be done unreservedly with honest affection, for every baker knows, there is no promise that he will get to enjoy that which others may well consume. It is a love without condition.
We are all at one time or another bakers and cakes. For myself I know now that it is my son Matthew, these three years with me in my heart, who has transformed me to what I am trying to become. His love and spirit surely the very best of bakers. In so many ways, even though the father, I remain little more than a simple ingredient and honor him and my daughter, Kristen, by sharing that which I have learned from them and in some small way, try and be as good a baker as they.

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