It’s six p.m. on baking day. There are sprinkles, sugar, crushed peppermint, flour, and chocolate chips on every counter and on the floors. All available counter space is covered with ingredients, cookies cooling on racks, cookie sheets, wax paper, and kitchen tools. The sink is full of soapy water and dirty dishes. The burnt batch of banana oatmeal cookies sits on the table outside looking like lumps of coal!
The day started with excitement for the possibilities! Family time as my youngest daughter and youngest grandson were joining me to bake. We had visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.
And then life showed up. One child’s filling fell out, so we had to interrupt baking to make a trip to the dentist. An unexpected phone call resulted in an unexpected errand. After misreading the peanut brittle recipe, we have a botched batch and we’re out of sugar. School got out at 3:00 p.m. and my helpers had to leave to pick up our kindergartner. We still have two more cookie recipes to make to get all our traditional recipes done. Tomorrow is booked, today is THE baking day.
It’s chaos. And I’m tired. I stop for the night and leave chaos exactly as it is, to be dealt with tomorrow.
It’s six a.m. on the day after baking day. The last two batches of cookies, anise meringues, and peanut brittle (of the unburnt variety) have been made. All of the cookies have been plated or boxed. The counters are clean, the ingredients have been reduced to empty packages, and Alfred, our robot-vacuum is cleaning the floors. The Christmas tree is lit, there’s a fire in the fireplace and the smell of evergreen and Christmas cookies is a sweet compliment to the softly playing Christmas music.
I smile at the memory of Jaxon, wearing his beloved Home Depot apron, pouring chocolate chips into the cookie dough. His little 4-year-old hands miss the bowl and a few chocolate chips spill onto the counter. I quickly scoop up the fallen chips, but one is still there. “You can get that chip, Jaxon and put it into the bowl. No chip gets left behind,” I tell him. Without hesitation Jaxon reaches for the chip and says, “Unless I eat it!” and pop, the chip disappears. I will forever remember the look of joy on his face when I asked him if he would like to crush the candy canes! He wanted to step on them to crush them, he settled for using the flat side of my meat tenderizer.
As I contemplate the festive spread on the table and the memories in my mind, one thought stands out- goodness. It’s goodness.
From chaos came all this goodness. We had to go through all the chaos- and keep going through it, even when we were tired, to get to the goodness.
And so it is with our life. We start out with such hopeful expectations. We have a picture-perfect idea of what it will look like. And it rarely shows up as the ideal. There are obstacles and errands, unforeseen setbacks- chaos. But we just keep plugging away toward our goal, just keep doing the next right thing. And suddenly the chaos breaks, and we are left with…goodness.