My friend Paige, makes cookies.
I know, right? ‘Cookies’ just doesn’t cut it, really.
She really creates edible art.
But anyway, the other night we were having one of those conversations that go everywhere and I think we were talking about… well, I can’t remember, it could have been twinkle light string theory… anyway, we got onto the subject of folks ordering her cookies.
She said that some folks have said that they absolutely trust her instincts and leave it up to her to create designs on whatever theme they’ve discussed (seems reasonable, I would!) Then there are others who are very, very particular, and Paige works with them to hopefully give them exactly what they want.
She started telling me that, sometimes, she even needs to explain what flooding is, and what partial flooding is, so they can speak the same language and …
Okay, so l had no idea what she was talking about (clearly I would have been that customer). Thank Gawd for smart phones and Google, because I caught up to the conversation pretty quickly (because who doesn’t know the difference between partial and full cookie flooding, I mean really?)
It turns out that a flooded cookie has had an initially liquid-y frosting spread all over, or partially over, its baked self.
She sent me some examples…
I know right? She’s amazing.
So… the ones with the white backgrounds and the silver designs on them? Those are flooded cookies (the white background is the flood part).
The darker ones with the designs right on the cookie itself, rather than a backdrop of frosting are not flooded.
But both are very pretty right?
I oo’d and ah’d over the different designs (and my cookie education), and we went on to other topics as time matured.
But the next day, I couldn’t get the concept out of my head.
I knew why. Connections and metaphors and, like, similes incessantly creeping around in my brain.
Did you just chuckle? You are totally a grammar nerd.
This holiday season has been full of a different kind of flooding for folks close to me. And for me too.
In the past few weeks alone, I’ve had a couple of people in my life, who feel more important to me than me, getting test results indicating that the big ‘C’ might be knocking on the door, or had just let itself in. And a few other folks whom I care very much about are working through some pretty serious stuff too. Kids, family, and friends… it feels like each of my big three are being bullied by forces I cannot directly confront.
I was talking to one of these peeps the other day and we agreed that the phrase, ‘when it rains, it pours’ had reached cliché status for a very good reason.
“The flooding is real.” I’d said (and we’d laughed at the absurdity of what she was dealing with in her life, beyond her own seriously crazy health stuff, and we’d laughed at mine as well).
I also happen to be dealing with a magnifier, a not-so-serious-but-still-nasty cold that muscled its way past my defenses and snuggled into my head and chest for a still-as-yet undetermined duration.
I think it was this magnifier, and the sleep deprivation that comes with it, that seized on Paige’s description of flooding on cookies, and hog tied it to the general life flooding I’m seeing and experiencing right now.
Only, I thought, with Paige’s cookies… there is that next layer.
But, then again, In life there is too.
Always that next layer of detail…
The unexpected beauty beyond the flooding.
The bits that we might be able to imagine, but not see and feel, until time does its thing… patience pays off.
When we are finally able to step back, and look back…
Even as we are flooded in grief, we begin to uncover the gifts in having loved so much that we are capable of hurting more than we could have ever possibly imagined.
There is also wonder in the realization that we get to keep that love with us, that it remains.
In times of back-to-back-to-back natural disasters (or man-created tragedies), the best of who we are as human beings is so often layered onto the flooded backdrop of shock and misery.
And when we emerge from a serious illness, or the illness of a child or other dear one, having had to climb mountain after mountain not knowing if we (or they) would succeed or fail… or live?
Perspective becomes our next, exquisite layer…
The ability not to sweat the small stuff, to engage Fear more sparingly, or – and I have seen this with my own eyes more than once – to marvel at a child’s gained empathy, knowing they will share it with the world.
Though I don’t believe that suffering is a pre-requisite for depth, I do think those who have experienced profound flooding can have beautiful, giving, wonder-filled lives.
Sure, to me (to anyone!) the flooding doesn’t feel super splendiferous all by itself…
But with time, and a bit of effort, I can usually see where my journey is taking me…
And then, sometimes suddenly (and often unexpectedly)…
Something quite magnificent…
And thanks for readin’.
*Paige started her cookie business relatively recently (though she has been a life-long artist!). Right we can order her cookies through her Facebook site as she works on her new website. All of the photos above were taken by Paige, and were used with her permission.
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