Each day we are being offered sweet communion with God, a life full of good things graced by the ordinary-extraordinary, and days rich with the Holy in our midst. And yet we so often miss the marvel moments and heavenly minutiae which make up a life of faith.
When we’re caught up in busyness, held fast by pressure and pain, restricted by our numerous responsibilities, it’s a wonder we stop for breath sometimes, never mind lift our eyes to the heavens just to look at drifting clouds, or simply pause, ponder and pray as we go through our days.
But when we do, we soon discover it’s the little things that matter most, those seemingly everyday occurrences we are all in danger of taking for granted. Until they become compromised, somehow, and valued far more for their rarity.
I’d become used to my husband being a fit, physically active chap, sporty all his life, still playing competitive football when he was fifty. I took his strength, health and energy for granted, little knowing it would vanish one day, just like my own.
First he was hit hard by pain, then an inexplicable tremor developed and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease came soon after. Before long, his back began to crumble, require urgent medical attention and surgery. It’s now almost six months since he had the operation we assumed would put paid to the pain and increase his mobility.
Sadly, there have been several setbacks along the way and he is still quite unwell. But you know what? We find ourselves celebrating the small, remembering the good, giving thanks instead of grumbling too much at the changes. Because life is precious and each day is opportunity to begin again, to have hope of seeing change for the better.
I am rejoicing with relief at his renewed ability to resume baking bread —the shop-bought stuff not being half so good for her spoilt ladyship!—though he has to pace himself carefully, of course. It’s a celebration of sorts, a leaning into grace and a way of reminding ourselves of progress being made—albeit slowly, one tiny step and one day at a time…
Yeast, salt, oil, flour and water combine
in basin of steel, bend of head
rhythmic kneading—apply pressure
stretch and roll; now a pliable thing
as dough emerges to rise and prove
knock back and shape to suit
the size within these tins
She watches mesmerised
by the baker’s craft
moulding staff of life
between firm fingers
awed once more by all
that lingers here, sensing
inside a gift that lasts
Patience, heat, chemistry
and clock will do their work
in perfect alchemy
that doesn’t always happen
perfectly—while air hangs heavy
with promise, rich aroma scents
surroundings and colour changes
Once again these golden loaves
are risen, ready, a fragrant feast
offering, living labour of love
Sitting now, they sup the soup
break the bread and sigh their grateful
‘Amen’, as they participate
in this holy communion
What daily graces are sparking gratitude for you?
How are you appreciating the holy in your midst?