Like Donuts For Bread

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My friend has some funny ideas about church, gleaned from whatever. I mentioned on Saturday that I was baking bread for communion, and he laughed at the idea. So Catholic, he said, and obviously he hasn’t a clue, but it made me smile. We are a pretty liturgical church, but we’re Presbyterians. There’s not a lot of crossover with the higher churches.

One of the reasons we focus on sacraments and ritual is my wife, or more specifically my wife and our senior pastor, who met while working at a summer institute on worship over a couple of years. When she was lost and looking for a new position, he suggested she come to his church and help with the music, as they’d just lost their music director.

So both of them appreciate the utility and the grace that surrounds some of our older traditions, and we take them seriously and joyfully.

And I make the bread for communion, another moment of grace. People are grateful, and it’s hard to explain that this is for me. The pleasure I get can’t be enhanced by gratitude, although it’s always welcome. I dig this.

Yesterday’s bread, in fact, was a little extra special, since I had a bit of a butter incident and so maybe used a tad more than usual. When I was given my chunk of bread (we do communion by intinction, meaning a server tears off a piece and hands it to you; and these are big pieces) and popped it in my mouth, I realized it tasted like my donuts. So a little extra treat for the bread of life.

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I also made cookies and slow-cooked a pork roast for the return of my wife, gone this past week, who got home around 5:30 last night. She went to a memorial service in Dallas for the woman who, in fact, created the above institute that started all of this. She spent a few days with her mother and then visited with cousins, did the service, and that was her spring break, folks. It hurts to watch her be so busy, but then I’m beginning to understand busy.

He’s got four appointments this week, two of them for chemotherapy. Apparently his chemo is scheduled for twice a week, once a month, which isn’t nearly as daunting as I expected. And this week, not having a car, I was once again overwhelmed by the generosity of my community. A friend who went away for the week gladly handed over her Camry.

He keeps getting bills from the hospital, which I keep unopened at the moment. One thing at a time, but this has to be dealt with and that’s going to be more busyness. Already people have offered to help, for which I’m immensely grateful, but I need to get this organized first, set up an account, etc. I will let everyone know when the time comes if you’re interested in helping. In the meantime, keep thinking the good thoughts.

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I’m used to my wife leaving town, and for short trips like this I might never speak to her, just text occasionally. This is a different time, obviously, and I found myself missing her terribly, calling a couple of times just to talk.

This need to reach out is also new for me, and a surprise. I’m often pretty desperate for conversation, but I don’t seek it out, just appreciate when it shows up. These days, though, I’ll take whatever I can get. I had dinner with a good friend on Friday night, just to talk. I run over things with my son. I’ve called my mom a couple of times. I’ve suddenly become a social butterfly.

And with all of this, the bad news and the hassle and the fear, my primary emotion these days is gratitude. For healthcare providers. For science. For modern medicine. For my unwanted free time, suddenly an asset.

For my friends, for my readers, for my community. For my church family, for my other families. For the compassion of strangers.

And, honestly, for my bread that tasted like donuts, which was a blessing and a surprise and felt just right.

Chuck SigarsComment