My daughter was home sick with me again today. She came down with the flu or something over the weekend. It’s bad enough that I’m home these days, but to have her here was something else. Yesterday turned out okay because she was sick enough to limit her movement around the house. I was able to keep to the schedule that I have been trying to maintain since I found myself without a place to go in the mornings for the first time in a long while.
Today however my little peanut was feeling much better and by golly she let me know it! She wanted to paint, play Legos, skateboard, write stories on the computer, read books to me, quiz me on different types of dogs that she knows; the list goes on and on. I wanted nothing more than to set her up in front of the TV and squirrel myself away in my room in order to pretend at doing some work. I found myself getting agitated when she wanted me to help her to do some ‘typing’ on the computer. I lost my patience when I had finally begun my own work and she thought that brownie making would be a good idea. I gave her that look I have that pretty much let her know what my answer was going to be. But instead of taking the hint she asked just one more time in her sweetest, ain’t I the cutest thing voice, “Please?”
I snapped. Rather, I allowed myself to snap. I knew it was in there and I knew that it was threatening to come out. And I knew that it would be terribly wrong if I were to allow it to. But I did it anyway.
“No!” I said, “And for the last time, let me get some work done…!” I went on and on, and she just stood there, looking up at me, her face growing longer and sadder with each word that I spewed at her. When I was done she turned away, her beautiful eyes rimmed with tears. I had made her sad. I had hurt her. She quietly went into her room and shut her door but I could hear her crying into her pillow, saying things like, “I was only asking… I just wanted to do something with daddy…”
I’m ashamed of myself, even now as I write about it. But, I went to her and pulled her close and hugged her. I said I was sorry and asked if she’d still like to try to make some brownies with me. She brightened, and that quickly, happiness returned to her eyes. She is so forgiving, so easily restored to love. And I am so hard and so very quick to hurt the ones I love.
We went downstairs and mixed up a batch of the best looking instant brownie mix ever battered. We put it in the oven and set the timer. So easily satisfied, and so quickly reassured, my lovely daughter ran off to begin work on something else that had caught her fancy that morning.
I of course forgot all about the brownies until I smelled them burning. As expected they were burned to a crisp at the edges. But, surprisingly, they were still very gooey in the center. Who knew that the amount of batter, the size of the pan you use, and the heat of the oven all had to be calibrated to work together for optimum brownie baking? Our chocolate brownies were hard as a rock on the outside and very soft on the inside.
I chuckled in the face of this apparent disaster. How like man these silly brownies turned out to be. How like myself! I try so hard to be soft for my God and for my family. I try to love, nurture, protect and watch over them all. But I forget so easily the material from which I come and the effects that this world has on me. Instead of using them to build on the God given softness that resides within me, I often forget Him entirely and end up as inconsistent as my brownies; hating those I love, and impatient with the life I have been given to live.
Smiling, I called my daughter and we mixed a brand new batch of the best looking instant brownie mix ever battered and carefully baked it to perfection, together.
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