Sugar, butter, sprinkles and lots of frosting–cake! What’s not to like?
We were in Washington D.C. for the celebration of Ward’s first birthday and baptism. Celebrating two landmarks and enjoying the camaraderie of friends and family.
The ceremony at the church was meaningful–especially as Ward grinned ear to ear and batted his folks in the face while the pastor shared thoughtful truths.
His birthday celebration was more festive. He had a beautiful green mini-cake with frosting and sprinkles that was begging to be eaten. Its brief, beautiful life was destroyed with his intent to eat as much sugar as possible before it was taken from him.
Ward’s face was sheer bliss. His eyes closed with pleasure, his hands couldn’t get the green and gold goodness into his mouth fast enough. He was able to lift most of it to sink his face into it as if he was in a cake-eating contest.
How much sugar was he eating? How often does a first birthday come around? The gratification he experienced was visceral; those of us watching were enjoying his satisfied eating almost as much as he was.
His responsible parents stepped in. Enough was enough. He needed to be cleaned up and put a halt to sugar consumption. As the cake was being taken from him, he let his aggravation be felt with his displeased cry.
They then added insult to injury and put him in a baby pool with a running hose, removing layers of colored frosting, chunks of cake and sprinkles found in places no one expected.
The earlier smiles and bliss gave way to indignant cries which then morphed into cold, wet discomfort.
Ward was mad. He wanted his cake and his mess, and he didn’t want to be cleaned up.
I empathize with Ward.
There are so many things in my life that are enticing. Drawing me in with promises of satisfaction, enjoyment, unvoiced needs being met, I too often succumb to desire without thinking about possible consequences.
There are always consequences.
Too much cake means extra weight and cavities. Binge watching TV keeps me from accomplishing what I’d like to do and insidiously steals sleep from me. Overworking makes me cranky, especially if others aren’t working to the same degree I am. Any addiction becomes a driving force that I can’t control or manage. No excuse, justification, rationalization makes hurtful habits good for me.
We’ve been created with needs that are often satisfied more simply than we want to think. Our bodies need certain nutrients, not extremes in anything. All of us need relationships, the opportunity to interact with others honestly and authentically. We need space and time to think and process things happening in life.
We need God.
I tried for years to fill up the yearning in my heart with friends and activities. To work harder, be better, be enough for others to like and accept me.
When someone introduced me to a personal relationship with Jesus, I didn’t have to prove myself worthy of His love. He gave it freely based on His grace. Not my efforts.
Ward wanted cake. But cake could not satisfy what he really needed.
Do you know what you really need?