Broken Cake Moments

Today we iced a cake, she and I. I stood on one side of the counter, she on the other, and we dipped rounded knives into chocolate icing and swirled it onto the cake. It crumbled apart, and when we attempted to put on the second layer of cake, it broke even more. The icing ran, the decorating tube got clogged, and we stood, laughter as we looked at this disaster before us.

I handed her sprinkles. “Maybe it will look a bit better,” I said, knowing that this cake was so far beyond rescue.

She poured them on. Red ones, flowing down the white dripped icing. Multi coloured flakes of sugar dusting the chocolate we’d tried to smooth.

It didn’t look better. It was a broken, chocolate covered, sprinkled mess. Every ounce of artistic cell in my body grimaced at the sight.

“Well,” she said, gloves on her hand and hairnet on her head, “that cake looks beautiful.”

And her eyes were on the cake, a smile on her face, and she believed it. She really, truly believed it. And this beautiful woman, wrinkles across her face and dementia an unwanted friend, reminded me how beauty is found in a broken, ugly cake.

I am so quick to forget where beauty is found. I’m so quick to stop looking for grace-seeped moments, that maybe life isn’t always about the mountaintops but the valleys in between.

I hate goodbyes. I’ll write a novel on them someday. I’ll tell you how they’re ugly cries, heartache in an empty car, bare walls littered only with empty nail holes. But I think we all know it. I think we could all write novels on goodbyes and sing our own Taylor Swift love song.

But maybe when we’re done our novel on goodbyes, could we all write how beauty is found in broken cake, too?

Somehow I’m thinking that novel might be just as important

And so this is what I have to say on a quiet Friday night, in an emptying apartment: hold onto the broken-cake moments, too. Write novels on them. Find hope in tear-filled prayers and dwindling bank accounts. Hold onto laughter and the feel of curls against your cheek. Walk for blocks even when the foot aches but the conversation doesn’t.

Find peace in what He gives because it’s always good. Always.

Jump into fear headfirst because there’s always something good on the other side. Some of the hardest, heart shaking words were said to me in a church by a stranger: do it scared. Do it scared. The most important thing is that your lungs are moving, your eyes are seeing, your heart is feeling, and you’re alive.

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Eat that cake.

Even if it’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever laid eyes on, it might be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.