I’ve recently (the past 12mos or so?) been trying my hand at baking bread. I actually have to come to enjoy it and my two stepsons like to help out whenever they know I’m about to start the alchemy of putting flour, water and yeast together. I’ve done it maybe seven or eight times and have had some success in that it actually tasted ok. Sometimes it turns out quite nice with a tangy, homemade, yeasty flavor to it. Other times, not so much. They were just… meh.
One thing that they all had in common though, tasty or not, was they were pretty substantial. Solid. Heavy… that is until this last loaf I made. This one was rather light and airy and I’m sure it was because I cultivated a little patience and let the yeast do its work.
If you read my “Exposed” post, you know I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch. Actually putting it that way is a very nice way of saying I feel like my world is crumbling around me.
I don’t mean to be too cryptic about it so I’ll just say The Deistette and I are having marital problems, we’re having internal family problems and host of other problems all of which are tributaries and offshoots of the main issue… litigation with her ex. I’ll leave it there.
So to cope and deal with… well, with all of it I’ve been trying to do things that occupy my mind but don’t necessarily require a great deal of thinking… like, mowing the grass, raking leaves, hemming my slacks, finishing out a replaced window or…
Believe it or not, I can be somewhat domestic and baking bread is something that makes me think about the task at hand, not so much that it becomes real work, but enough to let time pass.
A couple of weeks ago I and my oldest stepson were working on a batch while his younger brother and momma did some grocery shopping.
I’ve noticed with both boys over the years that they are “pleasers.” They’re behavior is better when they have a job they actually want to do and that they feel is actually necessary and that they feel is helping the family or others.
Isn’t that all of us though. I think I wouldn’t be so depressed, frustrated and angry if I were working in an occupation that fulfilled that list: was something I felt was really necessary, something I enjoyed or looked forward to doing and something I thought actually helped others and/or contributed to the common good.
Anyway… so the boy and I were mixing and measuring, kneading and pounding. And finally we were done.
I looked at it and thought, “What a miserable excuse of dough for a loaf of bread.” It was rather puny and I thought, “this won’t make much at all.”
We put it in a bread pan and then in the oven that was slightly warm. I kept thinking maybe we should just fire up the oven to 350 and be done with it. But the boy kept saying “no, the directions said to wait an hour for it to rise.”
So we waited. And waited.
And waited, and waited and waited.
And waited some more.
What’s that saying?… “a watched pot never makes the dough rise as fast as you want it to?”
Finally we reached an hour and in that time I think I added a little bit of that virtue with the help of the boy as we continued our exercise in patience. Not only had I gained a little virtue but that little bit of dough had doubled in size!
It wasn’t the best bread I’ve made but making this batch (particularly with the help of my older stepson) certainly taught me something.
Patience my boy…. patience.
I’m trying hard to cultivate the virtue of patience in my life again. I have strayed from my spiritual path and with awareness, faith, Providence and if I’m lucky grace, I’ll have it back again.