While Making Bread

Here in this kitchen with my Sanctuary friends,
we are learning to make bread. Adding the yeast,
kneading the dough, rest fifteen minutes,
rest and repeat, rest and release, love and release.
My bread is rising. My prayers are rising
into the warm room like a flutter of birds
into hope. I want to stay here, where I can do nothing
but watch the bread rise, here in this kitchen
of order and knowing, with its recipes
and predictable outcomes, smooth cupboards,
cool glide of stainless steel, bright lights steady
as the humdrum of rain outside.
Because everywhere else, things get messy.
There are so many people hurting out there
on the streets, and so many questions
without answers. There is a brother or sister
we keep running from, a family falling apart,
a constant fear that love won’t last.
And I want to be there, fully present in the midst
of what is not yet fully risen—
in the waiting for the rising that comes
when the darkness of Saturday is over. But I also
want, for this one hour, to just make bread
with my friends, where I can rely on patterns
of measuring and pouring, of kneading and folding
the dough over and over again. Where I can be
sure of the outcome and pretend I have some control
over the world by loving things
enough to make them love me back.
Where I can pretend to myself
there is a recipe even for this: for stopping someone
from leaving me by loving them enough.
And where, mostly, I am learning the deeper truth
of the matter: that love can only be given as a gift,
that love cannot make anyone do or not do anything—
just as in the warmth of this kitchen,
where things that are measured are also spilling
over, the bread rises freely
simply because it wants to.

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