It was a work of art: a triple layer, homemade apple spice cake with layers of frosting and a an extra thick coating of frosting on top. I was kinda proud of my accomplishment. And of course, as usual, I had not exactly followed the directions to a T. Which of course yielded a variety of reactions.
"Delicious!" my friend Mary Ann said (and it sounded sincere- her praise). She asked for the recipe and began copying it down.
My daughter took a bite and said bluntly, "The frosting has a funny taste to it."
My son ate it. Downed it, is more like it. And asked for seconds.
My appraisal of it? Well, come to think of it, the cream cheese frosting did have a slight kick to it. A bite to it. I didn't think anyone would notice if I added a little sour cream to the frosting when I was whipping it up. I had run out of cream cheese, and didn't think I had time to get my son to drive to the grocery store and buy some for me. So on my own (belligerently independent and crazily creative) I add a big dollop of sour cream, thinking that "it's white, thick, creamy in texture- this should work!".
I won't do that again- add a bit of sour to something sweet. At least, not if I can remember in time not to do so. But realistically speaking, I'm sure this will happen again.
Not with a cake recipe, but with a relationship. One sour remark can affect a sweet relationship. But here's where I take heart: no relationship is ever that sweet, that perfect, that it cannot withstand a bit of sour reality.
The relationships I value the most are exactly the ones that have withstood the tough times. These relationships have seen me at my best and my worst- my sweetest moments of grace and composure, and my sour moments of impatience and sharp critique.
Lately I've been valuing these dear ones in my life. They are the ones who eat my crazy botched up recipes (thanks, family), come over and hang out with my husband and I (thanks Tony and Mary Ann), meet me at a cafe for coffee and conversation that always gets me back in my saddle again (thank you, Mu).
These people share with me their painful moments so that I am not alone in mine. They let me know that as imperfect as I am, there's something worth pursuing when they see me, contemplate knowing me, and decide the sweet and the sour are all part of the recipe.