keep me from self-pity

I’m in a sad mood as I gather the bowls, tie the flour-stained apron behind my back. There’s no obvious reason to be. I slept in blissfully long this morning, woke to sunshine and my husband’s kisses. We made eggs for breakfast, cycled to the second hand store to check their stock, stopped at the Asian store on the way home for miso soup and tofu. And yet this dark cloud hovered above my head, shading my face from the sun’s rays and confusing my kind husband.

But I know a way to clear the clouds, allow the light in again. I pull out the well-used recipe, pull the blue flour tin from the cupboard. Add oats, baking powder, salt, stir and feel the tension begin to release from my shoulders. Come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

I watch these ingredients come together, combine into something good. I sneak a taste at each step, chewy dried figs reminding me of my childhood home and the fig rolls my Nan would buy, sweet white chocolate melting gently in my mouth. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

I break the egg into the bowl but it doesn’t quite break in two and I laugh at myself as I fish out the broken shards, hoping no one gets a crunchy cookie, wondering that I can have baked so many cakes in my time and still can’t crack an egg well, repeating mistakes and not learning from them.

And I remember the words I whispered this morning, sitting on the balcony in the sunshine, the book open on my lap: Lord, you are a God who heals and calls forth life. Keep me from the pitfalls of self-pity and despair, lest I ridicule your grace and power, and forsake my own healing.

I spoon dough into my hands and roll it into balls, place them down on the baking tray. And I whisper again, keep me from the pitfalls of self-pity and despair. Lift this cloud, clear the fog in my eyes, let me look up and see the sun.

I crouch down in front of the oven, feel the warm air escaping at the edges, hear the ticking of the timer, and wait for my efforts to be complete. I wait and I breathe out the worries and sadness. I chose joy again today. I chose positivity again today. I chose gratitude again today.