Monday, January 14, 2013

The Poisonous Cake

January 15, 2013—Thoughts
Only in China can I throw my oven into a bag on my way out the door for an interdisciplinary lesson on fractions: baking a cake while doubling the recipe. Only in China can I run to the market between classes to pick up last minute materials to bake the cake, be a few minutes late to that class, and have my two blond Danish boys, twins (my only two students in the class) sitting there, smiling ready to add fractions and bake a cake. “You brought the ooven today, Yes?”
Before I left the house, I remembered I needed to take measuring cups… but in China, they don’t use “cups.” Solution? Thankfully my blender has liters and cups. Measure a cup, poor it into a plastic cup, draw a line on the plastic cup with… let’s see… marker? No can’t find one… pen? No won’t work. Lipstick? Perfect. I drew a line on the cup with lipstick… then what about a half cup? Okay, I take an identical plastic cup and poor the liquid into it until both of the water lines are equal… and mark the next  line “1/2” with the lipstick… Rinse and repeat for ¼ cup. Problem solved. Throw them in my big purse/computer/lunch box/bag-cat lady bag, throw it over my shoulder, and grab the large, very large bag with the oven stuffed in it sideways, string the bag onto my wrist and with my free hand, take my coffee cup. Out the door. Success. I arrived at work to the minute on time (or a few late… I AM carrying an oven… I’ll just let your imagination create the picture for you. It is probably more amusing than reality).
Fast forward… boys bake. While they are in their next class, the cake is in the oven… ding! Time to cool… Now for a cooling rack… let’s see… ahh… 10 extra skinny chopstick style… sticks laid out on the desk, stacked like a tic tack toe board, cake pan on top. Problem solved.
Well on a more serious note, as usual for the last twenty years, I am trying to lose weight. Well… perhaps for the first time “trying” is the wrong word. I got a sponsor whose sole job is to help me stay abstinent from overeating- and after a month of playing with the idea, I finally see, and hate, yet almost accept that it’s sugar. It’s my Achilles heal… surprised? I didn’t thinks so. Yet, even though I am 100 pounds overweight, and I have been “trying” to lose weight for 20 years, somehow, I still didn’t realize I had a problem. I probably realized it, but to move past it, or at least seriously deal with it, I would have to do something that would be unspeakable, unbearable, impossible and possibly even… unethical? I would have to cut out sugar. Can you hear the horror music playing? I suppose I couldn’t face it because deep down and even on the surface, I was afraid I couldn’t do it. Worse, I didn’t want to. However, two days ago, I realized I have to. And only with God and my sponsor am I able to. Yes, I said it. I am able to. And… I ALMOST want to. Right now, I am sitting in my classroom during my lunch break, smelling the sweet aroma of the vanilla cake I helped the boys make from scratch. I’m wafting in the scent of sugary butter and soft floury murderous poison. I’m bitter sweet if you can’t tell. (No pun intended). See, I recognize that it is good. “All things are good—(and I think the Bible here is not being literal)… Yet all things are not beneficial.” Cake isn’t bad. You might be able to eat a piece of cake and be satisfied. So I say, eat cake. I’m happy for you, a bit envious even. However, as I poured the batter into the pan and reminisced about all the bowl licking I have done over the years, a peace filled me. A peace that came from the truth that resonated with me. Danish boy #1 said “Can’t you have just a taste?” “No” I said. “Just one lick?” “No, because if I have even a taste, I will not be able to stop until it is gone.” And that was enough. I smell it. It smells good, but I’m not really tempted right now to eat it because it would fill me with obsession. Obsession would lead me to gluttony. Gluttony is a sin, a terrible sin. The sin would lead me to guilt. Guilt would lead me to repentance. And I would repent. And I would struggle even harder to resist the next cake that comes along.