It wasn’t long after my mother passed away that I started what would become one of my most prized possessions: a quote book. It isn’t anything special to look at, just a journal bought from Big Lots, but I still remember the day I picked it out. I knew then it would be more than just pages bound together with writing on them. To me, it’s a lifeline to remind me of where I’ve been, point me to where I’m going, and take note of where I am today.
Yesterday, an odd quote surfaced in my memory. It lingered. I turned it over and over in my mind, letting it saturate my focus.
Once bread becomes toast, it can never be bread again.
A friend of mine from high school gave me that quote many moons ago. it isn’t profound or philosophical. It isn’t flowery words that go on and on to explain the history of all things beautiful or the wickedness of all things horrid. It is simple, straight forward, and borders on silly. Nevertheless, it is true.
True? So I thought at the time I wrote it down. Now, however, I disagree.
Literally, the statement is true. I dare you to toast a piece of bread and then find a way to un-toast it. Try to! If you can do that, please let me know I’m wrong. I’d love to see how you do it. At this present moment in time though, I am beyond convinced that It can not be done.
Literally, things cannot be un-toasted. Actions cannot be taken back. Words cannot go from spoken to simply thought again. You cannot un-see what once you saw or un-hear what once floated to your ever open ears. You cannot un-walk a journey you’ve made or un-eat the last piece of chocolate cake -although you may wish you could when trying on clothes! If the quote is looked at matter-of-factly, then one cannot deny its truth.
Emotionally and spiritually, however, toast can be un-toasted and turn to bread again. I know this for it has happened to me. I used to be toast, burnt to a crisp, hard to the touch, crumbly and crummy. Thank God, I’m not anymore. Today, I’m un-burnt. Today, I am no longer toast but bread again!
There is a process that must take place for bread to become toast, There must be heat for the transformation to take place. I was thrown in the fire the day my mother died. All of a sudden, with one heartbeat that stopped and one breath that refused to be drawn, I was changed from a sweet, trusting, sympathizing child into an angry, bitter, uncaring brat. Everything about me changed. The me I knew and was comfortable with dissipated into nothingness. I mourned my loss. I couldn’t let it go. It was above and below me, in front of and behind me, wrapped all around me, both my greatest comfort and my greatest pain. My grief relinquished to sorrow and sorrow to anger and anger to bitter and bitter to burnt. Bread finally became toast.
It took me three years to realize the only way I was going to get my life back was to turn to the Life, that is, to the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus Christ. I started going to church and I waited. I wanted desperately to feel that pounding in my chest and hear that small still voice. I went for three weeks, every chance I could. I almost lost hope, asking the pastor once if I had been turned to a hardness of heart. He assured me that I was longing for God to draw me to His side, that I had not been. Then it happened, while a visiting group sang their songs. He called and I answered. I became His again and He mine. Still, it took time for my heart to un-toast. There were many obstacles and hurdles that I had to overcome. It was, indeed, a trial by fire.
A series of disappointments and tribulation rekindled the flame that had caused my transformation to begin with. My daddy became sick, very sick. He almost left this world six years ago. It would have been of his own doing. Worry consumed me. He was all I could think of. I wanted to make him better. I wanted to “fix” him. I kept trying to find ways to make him happy, make him remember who he used to be. This went on for over a year. The fire grew.
During this same time, I found myself at odds with a dear, dear family member of mine. Her life choices were not what I could accept. Words were said that I wish I could take back, hurtful hateful things that haunt me still. Mistakes were made on both ends, hers and mine. In the end, though, I stopped pursuing her. And she me. We found it best to love from a distance. I felt lost without her. She had become such a huge part of my life and helped to fill the void left from my mother’s absence. I found in her someone I could help take care of, someone I could love, someone I thought would always be there. When our lives took different paths, though, my heart took steps backwards, away from the light. I withdrew and loved a little less. Actually, a lot less, for fear of being burnt again. Without realizing it, I had turned to toast, again.
Flash forward to a few months ago. I read an article that changed my life, and my heart. Through it’s words, I realized that loving from a distance isn’t really loving. I realized I had quit trying to reach out to show God’s love. I realized I had allowed my heart to grow hard again. I wasn’t soft with people. I judged quickly. I held onto the offenses under the presumption they’d been forgiven. However, I chose to keep them in remembrance instead of letting them go.
And I was doing this without realizing it. Unconsciously, I was guarding my heart. I had been burnt so I built a wall to keep my heart from hurting again. My heart became guarded and a guarded heart cannot be used by God. It must be open. Open to receive God’s love and open to give it. He gives to us freely and so we must give freely.
Over the last ten years (Oh, how it pains me to say that!) since my mother’s been gone, I have been thrown in the fire numerous times. I have been burnt. I have been toast. God, in all his mercy and grace, has restored me to my former state. He made me bread again! Now, I can love again. Ergo, I can live again. For Him, that is!
“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
~He can even turn toast back to bread~
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