Beautiful Day

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Cupcake's Tale (A Story of Forgiveness)

Being a day of celebration, the Lady of the House set about making a special treat, as is her custom.  She settled upon a cupcake recipe.  I felt delighted to be chosen because the Lady of the House does not consider herself a "cupcake" sort of lady.  Something about not yet being able to create something scrumptious enough and that most of hers seem too bland or just plain "cake-ish".  But, she had them in her mind.  And all because she had a gourmet cupcake at, of all events, a poultry swap!  This lady (at the poultry swap) was a true cupcake gourmet and after perusing her menu, The Lady of the House settled upon an Autumn Cupcake.  She shared it with her poultry-loving daughters who were in attendance with her.  And all agreed, it was indeed a scrumptious cupcake.

So, this being the perfect occasion, she settled upon a recipe and made some twists of her own to try to replicate something similar.  The piece de resistance?  A Chai Carrot Cupcake with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.  Just saying the name made her a little bit giddy.  For she really wanted to bless her family with such a treat.

Off to the kitchen she went, busy with measuring, mixing, grating, blending spices, and baking.  Oh, how good they smelled in the oven.  And they looked so lovely and rounded, sitting in those nice fall paper-lined baking cups.  She set them carefully on the cooling rack.  She prepared the frosting and refrigerated it during dinner, so that it could retain a nice shape while being artistically swirled upon the top of the finished cupcakes.

The Lady of the House and the Man of the House talked of them during dinner, among other conversations of the day.  The Man of the House told of a multi-car pileup accident on the highway as he rode the bus into work in the morning.  We noted that it wasn't even foggy, so we wondered how such a thing happened.  The Man of the House suggested a wonderful idea--to share cupcakes with neighbors as a gesture of kindness and light-bearing on an otherwise dark night.  The children were all excited to deliver and so they set about finishing the cupcakes when dinner was finished.

The daughters wanted to help decorate because pastry bags full of frosting are hard to resist when one is creative and artistic at heart.  Pastry bags were soon loaded.  The Lady of the House, being bent toward perfectionism (and not liking that aspect of her character too much, but struggling with it just the same), sought to make them look as beautiful as the cupcake gourmet's.  They were indeed lovely, even if not as pretty as the cupcake gourmet made them.

And here is where my tale starts to get more personal.  I was thrilled to be topped with such lovely decoration and to be turned from something somewhat plain looking, to something fancy.  Perhaps the Lady of the House was like my fairy godmother?  Regardless, we all were finished and sat awaiting the basket to be carried to neighbors.  Some were set aside for them and some were set aside for her family when they concluded their gift-giving and reconvened for their own family time, looking forward to hot cider and some more of their Reformation story.

Upon their return, they set about preparing cupcakes for the table.  They thought the cupcake tree would be just right for a centerpiece.  The Daughter of the House carefully put the first cupcake on (which was me).  And then it happened.  Off I toppled, landing in a puddle of cream cheese, turned upside down on the floor.  This upset her greatly.  The Lady of the House was also rather frustrated and did not respond kindly to her daughter's accident.  Along came the Man of the House and being just a little annoyed at his daughter's drama, he too toppled a cupcake.  This upset the Lady of the House even more.  There we were...a pileup, as it were, of a few cupcakes.  And a pileup of fragile emotions and tears.

The Lady of the House was discouraged at her own failures and was no longer in a happy, celebratory mood because she was so irritated with her own sin.  Her daughters were heavy-hearted because their Mama was heavy hearted.  The Man of the House, being a steady man who is quite adept at calming the sometimes dramatic emotions of his wife and daughters, sought to turn the attentions of his household to brighter thoughts.

It being late, the Lady of the House had plenty of work ahead to prepare her household for bedtime.  But first she sought out her two daughters, one at a time, to seek forgiveness.  Such moments are always bittersweet; bitter for the sin that caused the offenses, and sweet for the power forgiveness has to cleanse and make anew.

As she embraced one of her girls, she remembered the story that the Man of the House shared at dinner; the one about the six-car pileup.  She said to her daughter that she thought that this was a picture of what just happened in her own household and how one person's frustration feeds another's until there is left an accidental pileup--one that needs a gentle hand to come in and untangle all of the mess that was made to set it all right again.

After settling little ones to bed, the Lady of the House began to breathe deeply at the calm that comes upon a household at bedtime.  Though still in agony over her own failures, she was beginning to see above them.  As one little daughter climbed out of bed to have her skin treated for mysterious, persistent itchiness, the Lady of the House gently rubbed the salve upon her then accompanied her back to bed.   As she did, she smelled a familiar smell still lingering in the air and said to herself, "It smells like cupcakes in here."  The thought made her smile, as she remembered a quote from Lark Rise to Candleford that she had heard only the night before: 
It is only by making mistakes and hurting one another that we learn the greatest of human joys:  forgiving and being forgiven.
That oh-so-pleasant, lingering aroma--the one left by us cupcakes--served as a poignant reminder that forgiveness is indeed sweet.  The Lady of the House is ever grateful for such a kindness from her Savior.



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