Yesterday afternoon, I was fixing lunch for the family. No big deal, just four turkey sandwiches. I opened a new loaf of bread. A boring loaf, it looked just like a hundred others I could have picked off the grocery shelf. I don’t even really care for the taste of it. That’s why it was particularly surprising that as I took out the first two pieces I was suddenly struck by how beautiful bread is.
It was a peculiar moment. All these thoughts and half-thoughts, memories, stories, ideas, tastes, smells, and feelings welled up. Jesus breaking bread for His disciples. Hungry children begging for bread. Mothers teaching their daughters how to bake bread down the centuries and across many cultures. Robin Hood sitting on the side of the road eating bread and cheese before he continues to wherever he’s going. Wasn’t there something about yeast bread first being made in Egypt?
…Merry and Pippen eating way too much Lembas Bread. Samwise denying himself so that there will be enough bread to get Frodo back home. Farmers planning the whole year around their grain crop so they can feed their families bread. The French peasants of the revolution crying for bread before they cried for blood. David, on the run, eating the showbread from the temple with his men.
…Jesus eating bread with tax collectors and Pharisees. Jesus being the bread of life. My older sister’s many frustrating attempts at homemade corn bread. The wonderful smell of homemade bread while muddling my way through Algebra. Bread and butter at a friend’s house and being chided for not drinking all my milk. Naan, the middle-eastern bread my mother and I tried as we cried our way through a dish of spicy Indian food. My younger sister making biscuits for many grateful friends.
…Taking forever to bake a simple loaf of banana bread at the age of nine and eating large portions of the batter when it was only sugar, butter, and vanilla. Taking bread to neighbors at Christmas. The KFC honey biscuits in Hong Kong. (I dreamt of buying a bucket of them and eating them all.) My littlest brother carefully picking the bread items out of his meal to eat when he was barely old enough to get it to his mouth.
Hunger, satisfaction, frustration, adventure, pleasure, friendship, sacrifice, anticipation, laughter… these are the feelings that go with bread.
At the speed of light, I was back again; making a simple lunch for my family.
This frequently happens. A simple thing that I’ve happily taken for granted suddenly reminds me that it’s the simple things that matter. I feel as though I’ve suddenly seen God’s signature in two slices of bread and seen two slices of bread the way God intended them. They are full of wonder, full of life. In that moment I am truly grateful. Thankfulness wells up in me that God has always given me the privilege of taking bread for granted. I definitively decide that making turkey sandwiches is a Godly way to be spending my time. I finish lunch smiling over a new memory… the time God showed me bread.