Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)
TITLE: A Father's cake
By Jim Hutson
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To my surprise and appreciation, my wife had laid out all the ingredients necessary to bake a white cake with strawberry frosting. My daughter took my hand and pulled me into the kitchen, talking nonstop about how excited she was and how much her classmates would be envious about her being able to do such a grownup thing. Guilt assailed me again as I realized that this was more important to her than myself, as I struggled to keep my thoughts on the job at hand and not the one that provided the financial stability to the whole family that lied uncompleted in the office.
My daughter grabbed the carefully written instructions that her mother had left on the countertop. She began to read, ever so slowly, the words….."Dump t-t-t-the mix into t-t-t-the b-b-b-bo….what's that word, daddy?" her eyes pulled me back from my wanderings. I grabbed the paper from her roughly, much more than I intended, and tried not to see the sorrow in her eyes. "Here, Sara, let me read the directions and you can do the work." The disappointment was clear, but my daughter had learned well that it was the best she was going to get from this man she called her Dad.
Speaking like a drill sergeant to his troops, I shot off the directions in rapid succession, far exceeding the eight year old's ability to keep up. And then the mistakes started happening, the shells of the eggs being dropped into the concoction that was supposed to become a delicious treat and that brought on the stinging words of rebuke that she knew too well.
When I saw the tears forming in her eyes, I was suddenly taken back to the Sunday service that I had attended for the first time in years at the prompting of my wife and children. The service was so unlike what I had experienced as a youth and was really enjoyable. And I could remember that point in time where the pastor had spoke, reminding those gathered about God's loving creation of us. Much like a cake, mixing and stirring us into a beautiful and wonderful creation.
Suddenly, with tears of gratitude in my eyes, I went to my knees and reached out to take my daughter's hands in my own. I spoke with a tender realization of the sin I had lived and expounded upon for so many years and reached up to wipe the forming tears from Sara's eyes, "Sweetheart…..I'm sorry."
We tossed the mixture that as two separate people we had tried to make into a cake and started again. This time, as I hoped to do with my Heavenly Father, Sara and I worked together to create a wonderful and beautiful design. And, as we stumbled through the directions and carefully mixed the ingredients, I realized that God had done the same thing to me. And, in the oven of life, somehow I failed to rise, to combine the ingredients of the mix God had made into a beautiful and wonderful thing.
As we watched through the oven window, as the skies darkened and the work went undone, I took my daughter's hands in mine.
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