This is a different kind of post for me today. This isn’t a recipe. And this isn’t a motivational post telling you how you can be happier. This is kind of a merging of the two. Or at least, it’s a story about my experience with therapy in my kitchen. This is a story of how making bread began a healing process from within my soul. This is a story of how I begin to put the pieces back together.
Before you ask, no, this bread recipe isn’t going to be at the end of the post. It’s an okay recipe, but it’s definitely not #1, and well, I just can’t publish sub-par. And besides, this experience is not about the end result. It’s about what happened in the process.
So let’s start from where this all started. My wife is in the Air Force and has been away to basic training + tech school for almost two weeks now. She won’t be returning home for months from now. In the last 4.5 years, we haven’t spent more than a few days apart, and even those days were rough. We are inseparable. How we thought we could get through these 7 months without losing our sanity is beyond me.
For the last week, I have really been a wreck. The hole left in my heart cannot be filled by anything. Talking with friends. Hugs from co-workers. “Are you okay’s” from family. “This isn’t permanent,” they say. “She’ll be home before you know it,” they tell me. But none of it seems to matter because in this moment in time, my heart hurts now. I feel like I’m grieving the loss of my love. I feel like she’s left my life – because that’s really how it feels. No communication until March. No passing in the kitchen. No cuddles on the couch. No conversations over Sunday coffee. It truly hurts. So badly that I didn’t get out of bed at all on Saturday. I just didn’t know what to do. Sure, there were things to do, but without my love, none of it seemed important enough. So I laid there. A lot. And Sunday I almost did the same thing.
But after hours and hours, I got up and made some coffee. And then I decided I was going to make bread. From scratch. This is not my forte. But I want it to be. And I just wanted to do something productive. So I made it happen. Pretty uneventful for the first rise. Easy peasy. And then I punched the dough down .. that felt kinda good.
And then the kneading happened.
15 minutes of silence. A silence I’m beginning to hate. But the voices in my head were going crazy.
“This dough is never going to come together. There’s too much flour. Too much mess. Just a big pile of mess. There is not enough kneading that will bring this dough together.”
But I kept going. Kneading. Turning. Adding flour. Kneading.
“This dough is still a mess. It kind of reminds me of someone I know…
Keep kneading. Tears are starting to form in my eyes.
“Something’s changing. Something’s starting to come together. It’s starting to take shape. It’s starting to look like it may just make it. It may just turn into something strong enough to make it.”
The tears are falling. The hurt is still hurting, but I’m feeling this revelation happen within my soul.
I will make it through this. I will. I just have to keep trying. I have to keep working at myself. I can’t give up on myself. I can’t stop living for seven months.
So I will keep making bread. I will keep working through the pain when I feel like I just can’t put the pieces back together again. I will rise above. I will come out stronger. I will grow because of this.