Spending time with my Grandma

I’ve been having a week. It isn’t anything new to be honest but it feels as though a thousand cuts just keep coming and it has me moving more slowly these days….

It is that the numbers are rising fairly substantially in Berlin even higher than the numbers were in April or May and the highest numbers are in our neighborhood. But unlike May, the weather is getting worse which pushes people more indoors and the numbers then can only rise.

Which means that the chances of me getting to go home anytime soon gets lower and lower with each day but also we can’t possibly plan for December at this rate.

Which means that the thing I am looking forward to is in constant flux.

And with numbers rising it means we really shouldn’t travel anywhere on top of that.

Even to the church in a different city that I am supposed to preach in next Sunday because that area of Germany has said if you come from our neighborhood we shouldn’t travel and if we do we should be in quarantine. So even if people don’t check, should we even be on a train to anywhere? Perhaps it just isn’t worth risking bringing COVID home to my apartment.

But this also means that we should be in more and more which is hard to readjust to.

AND on top of that there is a huge public transit strike for 24 hours on Friday. I want to support underpaid workers but it limits anything I do more this week.

Plus the kids I nanny are all feeling all of the world’s weights but they can’t express but they can act out or demand or have meltdowns and they are doing this which I am ok with but I feel their sorrow too.

Even with all of this, on top of registering for school and keeping up with people and researching sermons to try to help and keeping up on what I could still do in writing, my Visa expires on Oct. 30 but the appointment I have been assigned is Nov. 23rd (it was Dec. 7 until today) which means I need to stay put in Germany until I can figure it out. I did everything according to what the bureaucracy asked for and yet here I am scrambling to get an earlier appointment. COVID makes everything a mess. A complete mess.

So…here I am. Here we are.

I do my best thinking while walking, jogging or baking. Yesterday with all of these emotions I was just wishing I could talk it through with my grandma so I did the next best thing and pulled out one of her recipes and one I have been missing, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Her handwriting swirls around the page.

My Grandma Helen and I baked together most of my life. On Sundays we went to church with my grandparents in the morning and then we went out to dinner with them later on in the day. After dinner almost every Sunday we went to their house, just a mile away from our own across our hometown. There house had the most warm comforting smell and was one of my favorite places on this planet. There, my grandmother made a couple of desserts for every Sunday evening. A combination of pies and cakes and cookies, sometimes a Cinnamon twist or Strawberry Shortcake. If it was an especially good Sunday I would go over early to bake with her. She taught me about flour and pie crust. She had me stir Rice Krispie Treats and stir the cookie batter. Most of all, she did most of the baking and listening intensely to whatever was going on in my life. While something baked she sat on her stool in the kitchen and I sat across from her at the counter on my stool and we talked for hours. I felt as though she was one of the few people on this earth that new me through and through.

So when I pull out a recipe with her handwriting my heart opens to talk with her while my hands move and stir. While I pour in the flour I am telling her about why my heart is heavy and while I beat the eggs she listens to me as I process whatever is going on.

The cake came out beautiful and spiced. The cream cheese frosting was just the right amount of sweet and as I took my first bite of the warm cake, I looked up to Ana and said, “now, that tastes like home and fall.”

For just a moment I could let everything else go and be comforted.

What are those places for you during this crazy time?

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