Just now I sat down with a steamy cup of tea and a thick, toasted slice of the homemade brown bread I made yesterday. What fun it had been to get my hands into that big bowl of dough, to knead and fold the hearty, whole-grain, organic ingredients until they had just that right texture and feel, and then to set the bowl on a metal trivet on top of the woodburning stove with its warming fire crackling underneath, and to watch the dough rise once, be punched down, and then rise again, more quickly than ever I’ve seen bread rise before. Turns out the woodburning stove with a fire inside is just the right place for bread to rise—that is, if it’s a cloudy day so that there is no sun on that usual spot on the window ledge where the kiss of the sun seems to give the bread a special blessing. Later yesterday, as the bread baked in the oven, the aroma that filled the house was everything that reminds me of wholeness and home and safety and well-being.
Then today, just now, as I slathered butter on the thick slice of toast and settled in with my hot tea to savor this moment of silence and peace here at Earthsprings, I was reminded, suddenly and sharply, of all those in this world who are hungry and without even a sliver of bread, or for whom one slice of any bread might be the only meal in their whole day.
How easy it is for me, for any of those in my bit of the world, where we sometimes can’t make up our minds between dark chocolate mousse or strawberry shortcake or gluten free apple crisp, between the latest recipe from the food channel on tv with extra-healthy, and extra-pricey ingredients or a favorite recipe from grandma’s old cookbook that is full of carbs, fat, and/or sugar but is always so delicious. How easy it is for us to forget, meal by meal, that there are, in fact, many, many people in the world who are hungry, hungry for food of any kind at all and who have no choices at all.
So, just now, I had to pause and say a prayer for those people who know hunger; I thought how they would sit and savor this one slice of bread, and I said to myself, “I eat this bread on their behalf; may they somehow be nourished as I am nourished, and may the circumstances that cause their suffering be relieved. And may I become more and more aware of the ways in which my life and actions affect others’ well-being, for good or ill.”
Then I ate my toast and drank my tea, appreciating so deeply each bite and each sip, holding the taste on my tongue longer than usual, offering its nourishment to my body’s health, as I also offered my attention to a world where I am not separate from any other thing, knowing that “the bread of life” may be available to all of us if we all become more conscious of our own responsibilities to each other in this inter-dependent world we live in. May we, each of us, rise up, like the bread rose, and like the song says, “a thousand times and more, may we rise up” to care for each other’s needs and health and wholeness.
I hope your day is filled with nourishment of all kinds and that your goodness is spread far and wide. Glenda Taylor