There are several places I can hear the Originator, Author, Creator. He speaks the perfect Love Language, sometimes in conviction, sometimes with clarity, so often summoning me to trust without understanding. I’m learning to pay attention to His Voice, especially in these places: ironing space, cooking space, & walking the dog places. My heart ears are more tuned in, less distracted. So it is with awe and wonder I receive thoughts from my daughter on baking bread and conflict. I believe she too is hearing His Voice as she learns the love language of food.
She gave me permission to share.
“Today, baking bread reminds me of conflict. You see, baking bread takes time. So does conflict. It isn’t something that you can plan into your schedule, or check off of your to-do list. Conflict is often a lengthy process. It is crucial to understand that time spent on resolving conflict is valuable and necessary. Time also allows healing. It allows those engaged in conflict to come to a new place of understanding.
You have to stick your hands in the dough and knead it until your forearms are sore. Conflict is the same way: it requires hard work, is not “hands-off” or something that one person can back out of. If they do, the level of conflict might increase, or the friendship could end. Dough sticks on your hands, fingers, fingernails. Even if you wash it off, remnants remain and crust over until you scratch them off. Stickiness is also a factor of conflict. It sticks on your mind, your spirit, your heart. Sometimes, it does leave small scars that you “scratch” off. Scars may remind you of the friendship that had to end, or the conflict that improved the friendship.
Baking bread requires multiple tries, and most of the time, much attention to detail. You normally don’t get it right the first time. Or the second. By time five, maybe you have begun to get a handle on things. During the first (second, third, fourth, fifth) time that you are baking bread, it takes laughter and a great sense of humor to realize that you misread the recipe, and didn’t add enough water to the mix. Once you realize you have misread the recipe, you call your grandma and ask her for help. She gives you wisdom that should have been obvious in the current situation, but clearly that wisdom hadn’t dawned on you. You follow her directions (even when the bread seems hopeless and dry as play-doh) and find that there is hope for the bread (even if it is a little chunky on the inside). Friendships often need multiple tries. No one understands friendship or executes it perfectly at any point in life. Laughter is a key ingredient and is always welcome in friendship, and can be used with discretion during times of conflict. In the midst of conflict, calling a wiser friend, parent, sibling or relative can give perspective, wisdom, joy, and reassurance.
Bread baking is messy. There may times during the baking process that you need someone to pull up your sleeves and tell you how much flour you have on your sweatshirt. Similarly, friends involved in conflict need to confess their own failures, and express what the other friend did that hurt them.
Baking bread requires space and creativity & time to rest. Once you get through the process of mixing the ingredients, you have to let it sit. And you wait. When the time comes, you punch it down and then let it rise all over again. Friends must realize that giving each other space during a time of conflict is vital. Space allows for rest, reflection, perspective. Issues that initiated conflict need time to “sit,” so that they are not blown out of proportion. Sometimes, the issues need re-assessment, or punching down. This re-assessment can allow friends to widen their perspectives, and understand the truth of the issues, not what was assumed.
Finally, you bake that dough and something beautiful comes from it (hopefully). You may realize the process is just as memorable as the product. One of the best parts of friendship is resolving conflict. Friends may find that conflict helped them to grow as people and as friends. That’s beautiful.”
Here are some pictures of Lauren and a really good friend Scotch, who worked through a lot of conflict. The results of that friendship…Absolutely Beautiful.