Friday, December 10, 2010

Burned Toast

Burned Toast

You may be aware that I have been feeling under the weather the past few days. Nothing serious, just a bad cold that consists of common symptoms like a stuffy-head, sniffles, coughing and body aches. Bah humbug! I'm a man and men don't let these things stop them. My Dad would have made me run in the snow without a shirt or jacket and then would have sent me out in the woods to find my breakfast. He was TOUGH. Ex-Marine. Just their nickname, Leathernecks, brings to mind people who are beyond human.

However when you are like me, that couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a baby, at least when comparing myself to the former generation who went through the Great Depression and WW II. No comparison. But one thing my Mom used to do for me when I was young and sick with a cold like this, was to make me her "Special Poached Eggs". These were not your regular poached eggs...oh no! They were poached in whole milk in an old cast-iron pan on an old gas fired range, then set on a bed of toast...burned toast. And not just slightly burned..Oh no. Burned to a crisp...catch on fire burned...smoke filled kitchen burned...totally black.

Mom used to make burned toast for me every breakfast. She used to say that it was special toast. It would make my hair curly and black just like my Uncle Dave's hair. I really liked that idea. I had dishwater blond hair...straight as a board and greasy. Curly back hair would have been wonderful. It never happened.

Years later my mother confessed the reason she made burned toast was because her toaster had always burned the toast, especially if she forgot it. This was before the new toasters where you could set it for the doneness you wanted. It never popped up on it's own. If you left it in a minute too long, it would actually set fire to the bread. Rather than throw the toast away, she made up the story about changing my hair. I believed it, eventually enjoyed it, and my Mom saved money and effort.

To this very day, burned toast gives me comfort and brings back warm and fuzzy feelings about my mother, who always came through when I was sick. Even now, when I get sick, I make myself some poached eggs...in milk and set on a bed of...burned toast. Not the same as Mom's, but still good.

How about you? What gives you comfort when things go wrong or you are sick? If there are certain things in this world, one of them is that it is not friendly and things will assuredly not go your way all the time. In the Biblical text there are many stories about this very thing. Read the story of Joseph when his own brothers took him and sold him into slavery. He never let it get him down. In fact, years later when he had rose to a prominent position in among the Egyptians, he never even held a grudge.

He stated in Genesis 50:19-21 But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. "So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

You see Joseph did not allow the circumstances of this world interfere with his mission. His mission was to glorify the Lord in whatever he did...no matter the circumstances. In sickness or health, in good times or bad, it did not matter. What an example for us today. What an example for me when I feel sick and sorry for myself that the world is treating me wrong.

So again, I ask you, What is your burned toast?

Blessings all!

--El