Spin Your Story : Gingerbread Jam

Guest post by Brooke Meservy.

This past holiday season I was asked by my daughter’s preschool teacher to make 15 giant gingerbread cookies for the kids to decorate.

Without hesitation, I found myself gently saying no.

As soon as I said it, a beautiful lady close by immediately volunteered to do it, and good for her, for feeling up to the challenge, and for stepping forth.

I know the truth. She was a gift.

I remember watching my mom bake a gingerbread house from scratch. Memory says it took all day. I remember pieces cracking when handling them out of the oven. Traumatic. Don’t get me wrong, my mom was in the zone, but I felt like I was a stranger in a strange land, and very separate from the experience; watching in awe, the kitchen churning for hours on end as she cut out the pieces from a gingerbread house pattern, and assembled it.

I’d take 2×4’s and nails any day over building with gingerbread. The kitchen was a major construction zone with big machines. Okay, so, maybe I exaggerate a little, but it is true that I have never had the use for a high horse power cake mixer.

What I don’t remember is ever wishing that it could be me, there, constructing out of cookie. No, anyone else could have it.

There is the image of this giant gingerbread cookie waving his fists at me, popping buttons off himself in all his rage, abruptly untying his bow tie that is suddenly choking him, frosting melting and dripping down his swollen forehead.

I give him a gingerbread electric guitar.

BOWOWOWOOUUUM! (Electric guitar sound)

SHWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (moving up the scale)

SCREEWOOOOSCREEWOOOOSCREEEWOOOOSCREEEEECHH (highest notes on the guitar, trilling).

BIBILIE BIBILIE BIBILIE BIBILIE BIBILIE BIBILIE BIBIBABA BAAAABEEEEEBOOOOOO (intricate figuration down the fingerboard).

Just what he needed. I walk off leaving him jamming out, and unjamming the essential. Might even keep some of his buttons now.

I knew what he needed…is it possible that I knew what I needed? Could there be cause for celebration?

The truth:
When she asked me, it was fear that surfaced, but as I write this, there is something inside of me that wants to allow for the possibility that a certain truth also came forth in the moment–that I said no, because of all this awareness I’ve been gathering. The simple truth being that I can no longer force myself to do something that doesn’t feel good.

And then there was the instant gift right after I said no! This beautiful woman, who said she would do it. Can I see the gift in asserting my truth in that moment, and allowing the universe to have it covered?

Can I embrace a gentler time in my life, of not doing what I am ‘supposed’ to do when it hurts? How many years have I done what I should, and felt myself caving in, because I couldn’t tell the truth about what I needed.

Just gingerbread cookies, you say! And I say, there is always one more batch of something. There is always putting yourself last, for one more thing–just one more time–until you sort of disappear, until your dreams lie fallow, until you lose yourself in whatever is your escape of choice (in my case, not gingerbread cookies). And what is left besides your commitment to helping to perpetuate the emptiness?–and all the disconnect, because somewhere along the way, we learned we could lie, and we forgot about the power of truth— and that it could set us free, just became a pretty cliche.

Now part of me knows that my daughter’s teacher understands me, and if she doesn’t, part of me knows it isn’t my issue.

My good friend was there, and told the teacher how she appreciated my honesty. It showed her a possibility she’d never considered. Saying no.

Another gift right there–someone who was there resonated with me telling the truth.

Am I going to keep this gift, or let it run out of the sieve of my mind, that often can only hold the dense, the dark, and the chastising!

Nope, I’m keeping this gift.

I want to say that I hope that I am forging a new path for all of the women involved. I want to live in a world where giving comes from my heart, and not from my head, afraid of what people will think if I say no.

So, in saying no, I embrace what I can do–and I know that filling up a plate with things I have to suffer through, even if it is just in my mind, is something that I can do no longer.

I’m ready to share the gifts that I can bring–to cart them down from the attic, dust them off, and bring them back to life.

The really good news is that I might have even opened up a space to make mammoth gingerbread cookies one day in peace and harmony–knowing that if I am making them, it is because I can, and I want to. Oh, how much better truth tastes.

I have faith that what I have to give today is enough, even if sometimes I must say no. I love that when I say yes, I will mean it.

So, I come bearing my own gifts. I tell you what I can and can’t bring, and let you, in turn, tell me the same.

Brooke Meservy is a writer, teacher and mother of two daughters. Her passion is to walk a path of heart, to live the question, and to rejoice with others she meets along the way. You can read more of her writings on her blog Wild Road.

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