The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


My daily bread

Kitchen becomes sanctuary for baker

I am a baker. It took me 30 years to put it in those words. I used to say that I baked bread as one of several avocations that include birding and bicycling.

I started baking bread in 1963. You never know how your life will be changed by what appears at the time to be forgettable, chance encounters.

"Bake your own," she countered, offering me a recipe and pan if I would go buy yeast and flour. She said I would find satisfaction in making bread: It would give not only pleasure but also a sense of craftsmanship. I still have the pan and recipe, artifacts of one of the most profound moments in my life.

I gained an appreciation for the art of the ordinary. We have to learn about the greatness of real materials through some channel of appreciation. Such appreciation doesn't seem to come naturally, certainly not in our time. Most of us, for instance, walk by a piece of handmade furniture. We're so used to the mass-produced stuff that fills our lives that we often fail to see really good material when presented with it.

This knowledge brings a humbling awareness. It puts us in our place as partakers in a history that will continue after we are gone and that had length of days before we came along. I am, in short, not the center of the world; I'm part of the process, a cog in the wheel. And it is good.

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March issue

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