If anyone reading this knows me well enough, you know that I am not great in the kitchen. I prefer to work around the chef (as a sous-chef, if you will) cleaning up and putting things away, giving the pot a quick stir, setting timers and all the other stuff that doesn’t actually include cooking the food. This not only goes for cooking meals, but for baking as well. Some people are good at one or the other, few are great at both, and I am mediocre at best. I feel like if we were to go ahead and think of my life in this analogy (which you know I am about to do…), I could say almost the same things.
Last weekend, I feel like I baked a metaphorical life cake. Please try to follow along… I feel almost as if I’m thinking this through as I write which I often do, and I’m sure it will begin to make sense soon.
The bottom layer of the cake came about as follows:
I got a phone call early Saturday morning from a woman in our community who is in a crisis of sorts, flip-flopping between life at the hospital and life with her dog who she can’t live without. She was meant to be at the hospital but was thinking of leaving to be with her dog. Erinn had left for holiday, Jo was out of town, and I was in Vaughan. Close, but not close enough. I left where I was almost right away, trying to call my friend back a couple of times with no luck. By the time I got home, got a few things I needed to give to her, and made my way to the hospital in Caribana traffic, it was too late. She was gone. The circumstances under which she had left the hospital were infuriating. After saying my piece in a not so graceful way, I had no choice but to leave. My boyfriend was with me due to the circumstances of the situation and it felt kind of normal – this life which we have both chosen to live can be like this. We ran all over God’s Parkdalian acres and looked for our friend, hoping and praying that she was safe.
The top layer of the cake looks like this:
After spending hours at the hospital, around town in Ubers, at her building and in many other spots in Parkdale, our friend was nowhere to be found. The rest of the day was spent, for me, trying to let this go. For my boyfriend, the wheels in his head were spinning, trying to tie the final knot in a series of conversations we had been having for some time. At around 8pm that Saturday night, I came home from a walk and was greeted to string lights on my ceiling and pictures of the places that mean to much to Ian and I. I looked at them with tears in my eyes as he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. This moment was filled with joy, excitement, and hope. A deep contrast from our morning together.
I realized that on this day, we had made a cake. After so long of shying away from chef-like responsibilities in my new community, it was time to put on my bakers hat. I was the only one of my co-workers here and my friend needed a friend. Although she could not be found, I walked head first into corners of Parkdale and spoke with authority. I had to take the reins. It was terrifying, and I was thankful for someone like Ian to be by my side. We built the layers together, walking alongside each other in Parkdale on a mission as we often do in this line of work. And in the evening we took next steps in building our life together. I traded a confident working lady hat for another hat, one that will involve needing to step up and be a wife. Lord knows that these are big responsibilities.
I hope this came together in a way that makes sense, but I’m learning that it’s okay if it didn’t. That day in our life was jumbled and still doesn’t make much sense. Growing up is scary and making tough decisions, being confident in your heart, and stepping up to love people is going to be terrifying and often won’t be clear. I wonder why people make the decisions that they do. Why do they leave the hospital when they need care? Why does the love of a dog come before the love of oneself? Why would someone choose to love me and my messiness? Because life is like baking a cake. The layers are important and create depth. The toppings bring and hold everything together. And often the kitchen looks messy, as will your life… in the end you can only hope to have something good.