By Whitney Hale
Last night, my sons helped border cupcake pan pits with heart-print liners. They dragged old wooden chairs to the counter where they lawlessly poured, mixed, tasted, and baked. After the cakes were cooled, the brothers decked them out—dumping on piles of chocolate icing and pouring on copious amounts of heart shaped sprinkles.
And my youngest son kissed the head of his newborn sister, leaving a ring of chocolate pressed into her hairline, and the bathroom soap dispenser was sticky and brown with chocolate. There was a finger shaped dent in the top of a cupcake where one son enjoyed a moment of private joy, and the counters were covered in red sugary sprinkles.
My in-laws then walked in for dinner. My father-in-law is weary. His organization starts and runs international schools around the world, and he is carrying the burden of closing a school in Afghanistan. The weight is heavy, and his decision affects the lives of teachers, hundreds of students and families, and his entire organization.
My father-in-law took my chocolate crusted newborn in his arms, and she brought light into his eyes for those moments. During dinner, we listened to toddlers pray, we talked about life, we told our stories, and my sons devoured cupcakes and ran off into the house while we chased their sticky hands with wipes.
Each of our moments are full of tragedy, jubilation, exhaustion, laughter, confusion, and guilt.
And sometimes they don’t make sense or even have meaning for us as they are. But their juxtaposition to other events and the trails they leave change everything. Like the repercussions of baking cupcakes with toddlers on a chaotic Tuesday evening somehow becoming spiritual and fulfilling.
It is the same way with stories. It is the telling of our stories at dinner parties, coffee shops, and date nights, during eulogies and sermon illustrations, and even through texts that builds the original happening into something greater—a part of the friendship, community, or even history.
Issue 33 of Ruminate explores the “artist as seer,” and illustrates the theme with stories of loss (David Dickson’s "Mother’s Day Plans”), mourning (Emily Rose Cole’s “Pharaoh’s Wife Mourns Her Son”), and dreaming and learning (Sophfronia Scott’s “Why I Must Dance Like Tony Manero”). The issue celebrates storytelling in art, poetry, and prose. The writers’ works—their faith, patience, enduring frustration, and humanity—overflow into our own lives and seep into our own stories.
Whitney Hale has been a Reader for Ruminate since March of 2007. She received her B.A. in English From Liberty University.
Photo credit: Store bought cupcakes. Cheap and delicious. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7758668@N07/503477519 . May 18, 2007. Author: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetpeacupcakes/. Size and color adjusted.
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