I’ve made many a cake in my life. When the kids were younger, I ventured into the crazed area of character cakes. Making puppies, clowns and rocket ships from cut-up 13X9 cakes and assorted round layers.
Not saying it was smart. Nor necessarily pretty to look at. The attempt was made. Success is always relative to the eyes through which it’s seen.
Layer cakes have always been a particularly sore subject with me. Because I don’t measure things exactly, they never come out evenly. They don’t bake in ways that allow them to fit together well. Lopsided, uneven, ugly. Not always something I’d want to use to celebrate anything.
Often the only thing available for the necessary celebration.
I’ve lived those crazy layers this last week. Where things didn’t fit together well. When the fun and festivities I’d hoped for came out looking a little skewed.
About a month and a half ago, we’d planned a huge gathering for the group of folks I work with. Huge blow-up water slides, awesome barbecue, more junk to eat than anyone should have in a lifetime. Lots of laughter and fun. Planned.
Several days before, very dear friends experienced a huge tragedy. One that affected all of us because of relationships. Because we’ve all lived life together for a long time. Their pain has become our pain.
The dilemma was what to do about the party. Should we have it as planned? Should we cancel? The reality of pain was such that I couldn’t ignore or deny that it affected me. And others. How can anyone party in pain?
After wise counsel, we decided to go proceed as planned. People came and laughed. Talked. Commiserated. Consoled. Encouraged. Loved on each other.
The sadness was there. Mixed with laughter. It felt odd at times. But it was what it was.
Like those crazy skewed cake layers. You deal with what you have.
Life is like that. Uneven. Plans and preparations for celebration often interrupted by sadness and pain. And yet each day dawns. Again. And life goes on.
It’s made me more aware than ever that this place isn’t home. Having been created by the God of the universe for relationship with Him, our hearts yearn for the peace and calm and beauty that can only come through Him. He has planted eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and it’s the only thing that will truly satisfy our longings. Our need for love and worth and hope is found in Jesus. This world? We’re aliens here. Made for more. For better. It’s not my American passport that’s so special. It’s my heavenly one.
Sharing in someone’s sadness moves me past my own desires and self-centeredness to consider the needs of others. Reminds me that life will be full of celebration and sadness. Sometimes just islands of joy in a sea of pain.
So I’ll live with uneven layers. Because even when the layers don’t match up, when you really bite into it, there will be some sweetness.