Monday, September 17, 2012

A certain passion for the tangible

Though a theorist, I freely admit to a certain passion for the tangible.

I make my own bread and jam. I can bind a simple codex.

It's great to be able to stop by the store and grab a loaf of bread or several jars of jam, I'll admit, but there is something about the making of my own that pulls me deeper into the mysteries of who and what we are called to be. I can order a book of photos of my kids from Shutterfly, but I can also bind prints by hand for each of them.

Each of these tasks calls for getting messy, for careful discernment about time or temperature or materials and each cannot be rushed. It takes four hours for the bread to rise, two weeks for the jarred jam to set, all night for the glue to dry on the book covers. To be willing to let go of control, to watch closely, and to sit patiently - it's good advice for many things, prayer included.


  1. Sacramentally beautiful and so very true. Thank you and amen for the reminder that grace is mediated through the quiet, the patience, the surrrender, and through the acts and things themselves.

  2. It also requires us to risk. Risk imperfection, messing up, getting distracted, failing miserably in the task.

    Much like a daily prayer life.

    It's not so much about what we feel like doing, or being assured of a pleasing outcome, is it? Instead it seems more about doing it and being there, really there in the moment while we do it. And finding God is there.

  3. Each of these tasks is intentional avoids taking shortcuts just like our prayer life should be. Thank you for finding such a spiritual message in the everyday.

  4. a life of the mind more acutely needs a life of the body to offset and give the mind a different rythm and rest.

  5. Thank you for this and thank all of you for these comments.

    I made bread today, for a friend who is ill. He wanted cinnamon-swirl bread with Nestle Crunch inside. That's not something I've ever made (or necessarily would want to eat). So I made it; it didn't look so pretty and I hope it tastes better than it looks. But there was a bread delivery to a friend. There was a visit. There was the thinking about how the bread could be put together so that it would taste good. It's the doing, and the doing for others, that made it a good thing. Jury's still out on whether the recipe was a success, but in the end, I don't think that's what mattered.