Friday, August 27, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Wisdom

My mother’s chocolate chip cookies tasted different each time: always delicious but never the same. Each individual cookie varied in the number of chocolate chips it contained. Some had only one. The bigger ones had two or three. If you were lucky, four, and sometimes five, Nestle's Toll House milk chocolate chips could be found embedded deep in the crust of the cookie!

The treasure hunt for chocolate chips became a favorite pastime for all the cousins. My children inherited the same chocolate chip treasure hunt gene. Now the grandchildren, respectfully, call the round, rich-flavored cookies "Bubbe’s cookie," and the search continues from generation to generation.

It took me decades to realize that cookies, like life, are not a uniform endeavor. No two chocolate chip cookies are alike regardless of the intent to make them so.

A jumbo package of Nestle's Toll House Milk Chocolate Chips
A couple of eggs
A dash of salt
Stick of Mother’s Butter
Sugar to taste
As much flour as needed

Roll them, pat them, and form them into small balls.

Carefully select the chocolate chips for each cookie.

Place in the oven on a cookie sheet.

Say a prayer.

Encourage them to grow.

Remove from the oven just before they burn.

Eat your vegetables first.

Cookies are for dessert.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Healing the Past

Do you know what it is like to meet a Holocaust survivor in person?

From the first "hello" you realize that this person knows something that you will never know. You immediately honor the truth of that wisdom.

A few days ago I met one of Dr. Mengele's "twins." Dr. Mengele, a Nazi physician and scientist, singled out Jewish twins as they entered the camps. The young children were housed separately from the other inmates. Eva Moses Kor, together with her twin sister Miriam, were among the physically exploited twins who suffered under Dr. Mengele's inhumane experiments and survived.

Mrs. Kor came to share her wisdom in my class, "The Power of Forgiveness." She outlined the process that enabled her to forgive her perpetrator, Dr. Mengele, and other Nazis.

It took her fifty years to realize that she had "the power to forgive." With that power, she deactivated her victimhood and became free. She released all hurt, resentment and pain. She let go -- and a new life enveloped her.

Today she travels to Germany to listen to the confessions of the Nazis who desperately seek her forgiveness.

Forgiving is the most direct way to heal the wounds of your past. It is practical spirituality.

Practice, practice, practice!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Robbery

A week ago Friday, my friends and I awoke to find our backpacks (with our money, cell phones, identification, etc.) missing from the condo in which we were spending a few days of rest and relaxation at the beach.

To be robbed is to know that the world is in disrepair.

And that brings pain of another sort:

Money and plastic cards can be replaced but

The loss of innocence again and again is a humbling hurtful happening

Reminding us that the ecstasy of having been in a Garden of Eden

Surrounded by love and God's presence

Is indeed irreplaceable.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I believe in yesterday

It was dark as we walked toward the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. People told me to go after sundown to see the lighted benches and to hear the rippling water that ran steadily beneath them.

I obeyed.

At first, the night time walk around the Pentagon building seemed precarious. Where was everyone, and did they know we were strolling around the biggest military repository of information looking for the memorial? I felt so insignificant next to this flattened construction, but when we reached the memorial and saw the rows and rows of benches shaped like wings in front of us, a deep well of awe elevated my being.

The cool summer breezes rustled the crape myrtle leaves and whispered in every language the words of sanctification.

Holy, holy holy. Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh.

You who are the God of all the Units.

Forgive us our trespassing as we traverse our tragedies.

Names written, ages honored, space given to remember what happened here nine years ago.

Some names we knew. Others we knew of.

Something wasn't right, I declared to my friend Toby. Why this big grassy area? Did they leave something out?

Oh, no, she said. There is a space between the three-year-old child who died and the children who were in their teens. There is a gap that does not need to be filled. The rows of benches were designed according to the year the person was born.

We sat on the edge of the memorial looking out into the distant mini-tract lighting beyond time. We saw the calm after the storm of hatred and malice burned us. We came to honor and remember our fellow Americans. We felt a deep longing for yesterday, when all our troubles seemed so far away.