From the Rector…
I often think of my generation as the “just add water” generation. I know we are technically known as “Generation X”, but I am much more familiar with grocery shopping than living on the edge and trying to find that natural high from thrills and excitement. I consider us the “just add water” generation because we grew up with Easy Bake Cake Oven’s were all you did was add water to the little box of ingredients and then run it through your oven and Presto!—a cake. It wasn’t that much different when I got older and went to the store to buy a cake mix. Just add water, pop it into the oven and Presto!—a cake.
My generation may have been the first significant latch key kid generation—influenced by after school specials and how to answer the telephone (never let on that you are at home alone!)—but we were also the generation in which significant strides were made to make life easier. It’s not the “just add water” piece that was designed to make life easier, there were calculators that did your math homework for you—you could even wear them as watches on your wrist—and the advent of home computers for school work and Oregon Trail! Atari came out during my high school years—raising the entertainment standards exponentially—not to mention MTV when it played music videos all day long. We watched Wimbledon on HBO and our lives were forever changed by George Lucas and Star Wars. Life was good and it was relatively easy. We didn’t really know or understand what we were missing out on as the “just add water” generation.
It wasn’t until I had been married for about three years, that I decided to try to bake something from scratch. We were still counting every penny back then—especially as we had just bought our first home together. We had two bananas that had turned black and I felt a deep regret in throwing them away so I decided that I would try to make banana bread with them instead. I found a recipe and discovered I had everything I needed to make the bread already in my kitchen. I creamed the butter, folded in the eggs, and then the flour, and finally the mashed bananas and vanilla extract. At some point in that process, I realized that what I was doing was more than creative, it was creation. I was participating in creation.
Just like God who formed the earth from the void and darkness, I was forming banana bread from a variety of ingredients that, on their own, would not have tasted good, but put together were delightful. Ok, maybe not just like God—but it was the first time I remember what it felt like to create something instead of just adding water. The feeling overwhelmed me for a moment and I stopped and gave thanks for all that creation is—and the joy of being a co-creator with God in that moment.
When the bread was done, Steve and I both had a bit—warm and moist—straight from the oven. It was delightful. Over the next few days, we discovered that the bread got even better as it continued to wick up moisture. We were a little sad when it was all gone.
In the years since, I will occasionally make banana bread—though I don’t feel the same overwhelming epiphany of being a co-creator with God, I am always reminded of that day when I did. The joy and delight of that very first bread still lingers and continues on in the experience of each new loaf or muffin tin I make. As the years have progressed, I am aware of more than simply some small sense of what it feels like to be a co-creator with God, I have become increasingly aware of how much I had missed out on in the distractions of my “just add water” generation. Watching Wimbledon on HBO or playing Pong on Atari, is nowhere near as much fun as playing tennis with your friends on the court—nor does it build relationships that last and deepen and comfort you in the hard years. Wrist calculators might help you find the right answer, but they don’t help you understand how to actually get the answer. Short cuts seem like a good idea, but they are rarely as fulfilling as taking the time to do something well that is meaningful and endures. That is what my generation lost because of a world made easier by just adding water.
Blessings for a holy season of Lent.
Light and Life,