The Food Coloring
Out of nowhere, bricks slam into face and I am flattened by the hard reality that I will never see my mother on earth again. Tears rise from pain deep spilling over water line and I stop in the middle of aisle four in front of the food coloring.
My mother made the Christmas cookies every year for us six kids. It’s all about the perfect amount of almond extract that made the green and red Christmas trees taste like only my mother could make them taste.
Under an umbrella of ‘White Christmas’ blaring through the store speakers, I stand in front of the sprinkles and the cookie cutters and empty heart tears into hands of God hoping no one will see me break.
I. AM. BREAKING.
In the company of carts filled with milk and Cheerios, I break. In the middle of holiday food planning and gift giving, I break. In the presence of strangers staring into strange girl’s teary eyes, I break. There is no, “Girl…? Are you ok?” None of it. There is just torn heart skin hanging loose begging for time to bring the healing.
I break an egg and add the sugar and I get to mixing the thing that breaks my heart and holds it together.
I am bound to my mother’s love.
We were like a Christmas card, all of us kids, on our knees in the kitchen chairs. How we’d lean into the perfect trees on the cookie sheets waiting for the cleaning of the bowl with our fingertips. And when we thought she wasn’t looking we’d sneak a clump of sweet into our mouths. But she always knew because a mother always knows when her love goes out.
I could never get the Christmas trees to look as perfect as she did. My mother had a special touch. She always knew just how hard to hold on to anything and just when to let go soft. My mother held grace in her hands. How, through the years, she held my broken things in her arms and put me back together and let me go like a gift.
I was my mother’s gift.
Jesus broke into God’s arms.
And so, I hope with heart weak and feet like cement and say, “God, I can’t do this alone. I can’t do this no mother thing if You don’t help me do this and if You don’t hold me through this.” With flour and sugar in arms, I say, “I need You to hold me now while I break into the fullness of who You are. Move me slow away from this moment so I can move into the rest of the day that You made for me to live in and be glad in.”
We walk slow, me and God, to the register and out to the car and we drive back home. I put the food coloring in the kitchen cabinet and I don’t even know if I can make them this year. I think I may have just wasted a good four dollars and thirty-seven cents.
Though this season my merry is less, in my suffering, my Christ is more and soon, I have to believe, there will be good to come even in the loss of my mother’s love.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28