If Forrest Gump can say “life is like a box of chocolates,” then, I’ll contend “spirituality is like yeast rolls.” During my stay-at-home mom days, I loved baking yeast rolls from scratch. It was a day-long event, and the house smelled heavenly by dinner time.
When the day was young, I mixed the ingredients and kneaded a ball of dough. Two dozen yeast rolls would eventually be formed from that small ball. This stage reminds me of my early years of religious education. All the questions and answers of my religion were seemingly contained in one rather small book – the catechism. Is that really true?
After a few hours of rising in a warm spot, the ball of dough comes out, for punching and kneading. The punching was fun – but I had never thought about how it felt for the dough, before now! It must be akin to “getting punched in the gut” by your religion. It might be scandals, or lack of understanding by one clergy person. As I kneaded the dough, more flour is added and absorbed – could the flour be compared to new insights and teachings from meditation, reading and learning about other traditions?
The dough rose again for a few more hours. Then, I rolled it out on a large wooden board. Every time I lifted the rolling pin, the dough inched back a little bit. Back and forth, I went – spreading the circle, watching it contract, and spreading it again. Eventually, it became a large flat piece of dough. Therein lies the true spiritual journey! Sometimes, we expand and sometimes we contract. Our consciousness grows and then reverts back to a more familiar place. With much back-and-forth, determination and persistence, we get to that larger place, a state of expanded consciousness.
Then, what? In my yeast roll-making days, I had a really important decision to make – do I form crescent rolls? Round rolls? Ridged rectangles resembling loaves of bread? Ovals, squares – the list was endless. And, don’t we have a smorgasbord of religions, spiritual communities, denominational and non-denominational groups, from which to choose? Just like the shape of my rolls did not affect the taste, perhaps the outward group is not the most important factor of the spiritual journey. Perhaps, the inner relationship with the Divine is the real determinant….
I always timed the baking of the rolls, to come out of the oven a few minutes before we ate. Yummy, nothing tastes better than melting butter on a newly baked roll! Ah, that is a sweet, sweet place. When we arrive to a new understanding on our spiritual journey, it too is a sweet, sweet place. All the hard work of getting there was worth it.
Yeast rolls – one day; spiritual journey – one lifetime.