Love, Like Bread, Made New All the Time

Meditations in Motion

I went for a run yesterday and, for the first time in over two months, pushed the pace a little bit. Not a lot, I don’t want to risk injury two weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon, but just enough to get the wheels turning. It felt great. I love speed. My favorite sensation when I am running is to feel myself flying down the road (flying is a relative term at my age).

When I got home, I decided to treat myself to a piece of homemade bread, toasted and slathered in butter and homemade strawberry jelly.

Maybe this is heresy in the new gluten-free, low-carbohydrate world, but I love bread. I love to eat it, and I love to make it. The loaf pictured above is sourdough, made from my own starter (no added commercial yeast) which I have cultured for almost ten years.

A few weeks ago, I thought I killed my starter due to lack of attention. I allowed it to languish, unfed, in my refrigerator for weeks. It developed a weird smell, not tangy, like sourdough starter is supposed to smell, just… weird. I tried to use it to make a loaf of bread. The resulting loaf had the approximate consistency of a brick. Ugh! I pitched most of the starter, set the container on my kitchen counter so I would remember it, and put it on advanced life support by feeding and stirring it twice a day.

 

Meditations in Motion

After babying it for over a week, it revived. When I looked in the jar each morning a bubbly, lively, tangy-smelling blob with a healthy mix of living bacteria and yeast greeted me. This is the first loaf I made with the resuscitated mixture. It was good – not as tangy as usual, but that special sourdough tanginess will come back in time.

As bread-makers know, there is no instant gratification when it comes to bread, especially sourdough bread. I began making this loaf at 8:00 in the morning, and it was ready by 6:00 that evening. I have sometimes allowed the dough to rise overnight, which increases the sharp sourdough flavor.

Meditations in Motion

Kneading the dough is like meditating. It is a mindless, repetitive activity that must be kept up for 10 minutes or so, during which your mind is likely to wander. After I meditate for 10 minutes, I have a clear-headed, lighter, calmer feeling; after kneading dough for 10 minutes, I get the same feeling, plus a ball of dough that eventually will be turned into approximately a pound of delicious, crusty, chewy brown heaven.

Making bread reminds me of this quote by Ursula Le Guin “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” Yes, love. Constantly remade. Ever changing and ever new.

Meditations in Motion

I think sometimes that we are sold a bill of goods in the fairy tales that we tell to children, especially to little girls, as pointed out in the song “Fairytale” by Sara Bareilles. We are told that once you find your Prince Charming, the rest of your life will be “happily ever after.” We go into our marriages never expecting to have to work to keep them alive.

Maybe “work” isn’t the right word. Maybe we just have to pay attention, as I did to my sourdough starter. We have to nourish our love, to feed it, we can’t allow it to sit on a shelf in the cold refrigerator for weeks or months or even years, untended and unappreciated.

It’s a common occurrence. It happened to me. We get complacent, we forget, we get caught up in the everyday trials of working, raising a family, carving out a little bit of space for personal growth and happiness. And the life, the bubbles, the froth goes out of our relationships a little bit at a time, without us noticing.

Meditations in Motion

When my husband and I realized what was happening, we put our love on life support. We threw out what didn’t work, fed our love every day (sometimes twice a day) and focused on what was important to us. To us. That’s the way love is. As long as there is that one living cell, that one spark of life, you can come back, and we wanted to come back.

This was years ago. The resuscitation was, thankfully, successful. Last winter, Bill showed me a “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip by Stephan Pastis that caused my eyes to swim with tears. In it, the six stages of marriage were depicted. A lot of insight for a six-panel comic strip.

  • In the first panel, a bride and groom are pictured telling each other “You’re the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
  • In the second, they are sitting at opposite sides of the couch saying “You’re not as great as I thought.
  • Next the couple, obviously older, tell each other angrily “You need to change.
  • The couple, now gray-haired then realize “You can’t be changed.
  • In the fifth panel, the elderly couple embraces, saying “I accept you as you are.
  • The final panel shows the husband, alone, sitting beside a grave marker saying “You’re the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

Luckily, my hubby and I made it to the fifth panel.

I now realize that if we are given the incredible gift of love, the least we can do is not take it for granted. If there is someone you love, tell them, show them how much you appreciate the special and unique person they are. Make them aware your love for them is significant, essential. Do it today. Feed your love. Then stir it up a little bit and watch the bubbles. You’ll be glad you did.

 

I am linking up with Clean Eats Fast Feets for her Week in Review, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging and Dream Team, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, blovedboston for Weekending, Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Char at Trekking Thru, Purposeful Faith for RaRa link up, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Meghan Weyerbacher for Tea and Word, Shelbee on the Edge for Spread the Kindness, Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs Β for the Coaches’ Corner linkup,Β  Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, and Mary-andering Creatively for LMM.

 

 

 

 

 

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73 comments

  1. I call it bread therapy! It’s just like yoga in the kitchen. I enjoy those quiet moments standing at the counter – methodically stirring, folding, and mixing, allowing my mind to run free.

    Beautiful post, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A timely reminder for me. πŸ™‚

    I simply don’t have your metabolism — I do eat bread, but I don’t eat a lot of bread any more. And I was a from-scratch bread baker — I loved kneading dough! Although I never did sourdough (which oddly enough is what I eat these days).

    We are probably somewhere between third & fourth stages, frankly. But hey, we’re still in it together!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And this post is nourishing like bread.
    I’ve never been a sourdough person because with four sons, homemade bread evaporated around here, but with the population dropping under this roof, I might do some experimenting with the long and patient process of making one loaf at a time. Sounds like a spiritual discipline to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely understand why you would be reluctant to put the time into sourdough with 4 boys in the house. When my 3 boys were all at home, my homemade bread was limited mostly to the bread machine. Now, when they come back for a visit, I try to make something special! Bread making feels like a spiritual discipline.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nothing like fresh naked bread, fresh from the oven, warm enough to melt the butter…so yummy. Very glad the revival of your marriage starter worked so well. Its great to have the same warmth in a marriage to carry you onward.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved you bread analogy. When my husband and I were dating we use to play this game and compare love to a lot of things. Bread wasn’t one of them lol but just them deep thought provoking conversation meant a lot to us. I agree with you on your perspective about love. My husband and I like to do what we call a relationship report card to just evaluate where we are as a couple and what we can do better to connect or stay connected.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You have a way with words and tying things together Laurie – I learned a lot about bread. I’ve never made bread but I enjoy it and it is my downfall. The second part of your post … well, wow and I used to enjoy reading that comic strip “Pearls Before Swine” – I’ve not read it in awhile though. That is sad how it ended and I’m sure this happens many times in life – by then it is too late. I’m glad you and your husband got to stage 5.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great analogy between making bread and marriage. If people worked half as hard at their marriages as they do at a host of other pursuits – what a difference that would make. Used to make bread when we lived in a little village. It turned out okay. But just okay. Maybe I’ll give it another go, now that I have a bit more spare time.

    This was one great post. Thanks for taking the time to share.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful reflections on bread and love! We’ve also made it to stage 5, but not without throwing out some of the starter! Marriage is hard. But like anything that’s difficult, the rewards are endless.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mmmm bread. I love it warm and slathered with butter. But it doesn’t love me. Remember those bread machines back in the 80’s? Probably sacrilege but I used to have one. I may still have it somewhere…
    You’re right though. We need to constantly cultivate things we want to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That is an apt analogy! Attention must be paid … continuously! i don’t bake bread anymore (though I remember).. but after 60+ years, the second part still is true. And still is worthwhile (whether you call it attention or work!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kneading is my absolute favorite part of making bread – I’m glad to know someone else feels the same. For me, it works even better than meditation for clearing my mind. Plus, of course, it results in bread πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I usually stare out the kitchen window when I knead dough. There is a little woods behind our house, so I am looking at trees. Trees are great scenery to let your mind wander. And the resulting bread is a definite bonus!

      Like

  12. Beautiful home-made bread – is there anything better? My husband has been talking for about two weeks how he wants to make a focaccia which is his favourite. I am going to remind him this evening and maybe even give him a hand. And a big hug while he is doing it! #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The picture of the loaf is fantastic! I can smell it now. My mother used to bake all the time. My brother and I could barely wait for her to take it out of the oven. He was the grape jelly, and I preferred strawberry preserves or jam. I love the analogy you shared about the bread, yeast the kneading, etc.. The comic strip is hilarious. I need to share with my mother. Thanks for visiting today, Laurie. It was nice to “meet” you. You can send a loaf to Texas any time! Blessings to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! If I ever have an extra loaf, I will surely send it down to you, Horace! I have 3 (adult) sons who all bake bread. In fact, they are all better bakers than me, and I was the one who taught them how to bake. That hardly seems fair! πŸ™‚

      Like

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