Baking My Way Back to Hope


Molasses spice cookies

By Dawn Onley

Can you remember when you decided to hope?

Can you recall the moment? The day? The situation? How it felt to surrender the pain and angst and helplessness, against logic and reality, to believe in a better outcome? How absolutely senseless it felt to hang onto hope, when everything seemed so hopeless?

But then the tree grew from the concrete and the baby came from the prayer and other miracles were born from tears and sleepless nights and finally … hope. And, faith.

I started baking after a tragedy. I always loved to bake, here and there, but then I became singularly focused on it. I found it therapeutic to knead the dough and season the apples and measure exact proportions, creating something beautiful and delicious and definite. If I followed the recipe, I would get exact results. No guesswork. I could control the outcome.


Lucious Lemon

It became restorative, a healing to my senses. It gave me something to focus on and a way to quiet the thoughts raging through my mind. It brought me a soothing calm. It became my refuge.

As I watched the pie bake and the smell waft through the room, I resolved to trust the process. I concentrated on each breath and with every exhale, I released my strangle hold on what I could not control, and eventually, the knot came undone.

I now recognize the surrender as hope. It didn’t come easily. It never does when you are used to fighting and you’d rather stew in anger and frustration, even if you convince yourself otherwise.

But it came.


Chocolate cake

As I watched the cake rise, I started mumbling how this too shall pass. And something miraculous happened: it did. And just like the icing, what I got was sweet deliverance!

It was a winter day, cold and miserable. I was undone until I decided to hope.

And that changed everything.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tracye says:

    Yes! Baking is hopeful and restorative. And by the way, that chocolate cake looks absolutely amazing in the photo!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen Hall says:

    How I long for the “sweet deliverance” and am in awe of how simple themes become poetic messages from your keystrokes. You’ve done it again, Dawn!

    Liked by 1 person

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