I fell in love with this cake when I first laid eyes on it. I was down town Portland (OR) with a dear friend and we got to spend our Sunday together, breakfast at a swanky funky restaurant, then coffee at Starbucks, and then we ended up walking into a Whole Foods Market. She was looking for a little snack and I was just going along. Then under the arched glass of the bakery counter sat this beauty. Inside of me lives a 10-year-old girl who loved all things rainbow. That girl used to draw pictures of roller skates that she designed herself. That young girl loved to roller skate and her dream skates had pink wheels, white boots with a rainbow on the outer side of both boots. Because of the inner 10-year-old this cake spoke to me. Actually, that young girl was jumping up and down with great excitement and expectations of a wonderful delight to be found in that cake. Then something magical happened. My friend uttered those fantastical three words, "Just get it". And I obeyed those words like I obeyed my mother when I was ten.
My youngest son's birthday was the following day, so I rationalized that we would all enjoy a little pre-birthday celebration that night by enjoying this cake. I had expected that the inside cake would taste as good in my mouth as the rainbow colored frosting tasted to my eyes!
First I had to take some photos of this gorgeous gal (she is too fancy and pretty to be a dude). After the mini photo shoot, she was sliced up. Inside, to my surprise, was thick white lard frosting, with spongy thin layers of yellow cake. After a few bites, one of my boys declared it tasteless and threw it away. I kept eating my piece hoping to find it as wonderful tasting as I had imagined. Finally, I had to admit to myself that it just didn't live up to my expectations and I tossed my piece in the trash as well. I was disappointed.
I let her sit in her box all night. In the morning I just had to try some again, but it was still the same old tasteless disappointment of a cake. I tossed the whole rest of the cake, with a sad heart, into the trash. It was sorta like flushing your beloved goldfish in the toilet after it died. You can't save it, it died, but you are sad it didn't live any longer and now it is all over sorta feeling.
I have stuff like that too in my life. Things that I have great expectations for, but it turns out to not be what I thought it was and I have to just leave them behind and move on. Sometimes it is dreams I have to trash, sometimes relationships that don't pan out the way I had hoped, sometimes the image of a smoothly ran home that is always clean I have to give up on and except the dirty messy reallity.
When I was a freshman in high school I started to read the book Great Expectations. I don't remember much of it. But here are a few things. I learned the word benefactor. There was a young lad who went to live with a benefactor. When he was at the man's house he discovered a room that was set up as a wedding reception and the bride, dead and all bones wearing her gown, sat at the head of the table. There were lots of cobwebs on everything. That is it. That is all I remember. I have always wanted to go back to that book and read the whole story. It has always been a mystery to me. There are things in life that you have to leave and you clean something from it, like I got that new cool word form the book, but then there are other parts that just don't make sense and are forever a mystery. Great expectations turn in to a life lesson and the inner muscle to know when to leave them behind and move on.
Lately, I realize that I have had both cake expectations and great expectations of what life would be like for me right now. It is funny how a person looks into their future and writes what life will be like by a certain point. Some people are extremely focused and can achieve what they have planned. Or maybe some people are fortunate and life just goes the way they plan. Then there are those who have hopes and dreams and life has different plans. I think of some friends that have got good things they didn't plan for.....well, no, I'm trying to think of one friend who this is true of and I can't. Well, maybe one gal who thought she would never marry and then surprise Mr. Marrying Man walked in to Act One, Scene Two and life took an unexpected turn! But I can think of friend after friend who didn't get what they expected. Maybe they didn't expect divorce, or abuse, or alcohol problems to come into their life. Some expected more children, some expected less. No matter what the circumstance, I think it is safe to say that we all look ahead and have a pretty rainbow frosting dream. And dreams are good, I'm not at all knocking dreams! What I wish I had woven into my great expectation dreams was a great expectation of how God's thoughts are not my thoughts and how God's ways are not my ways. (see Isaiah 55:8-9)
I have a hard time remembering what I Corinthians 6:19-20 tells me. My body is not my own, I was bought with a price, I am a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. This makes me think that as his child he gets to write the script. As a believer in Christ Jesus, my own life doesn't even belong to me any longer. Yes, I still have free will and choices, but when I am trying to follow Christ, He gets to lead. It's like a beautiful dance where the man leads and the woman willingly follows.
I have really struggled with not getting to see my great expectations come to fruition. I had good dreams, dreams that I thought God was leading me into, but they didn't happen (on different levels). I got confused as to what was going on and where I was supposed to be. My poor husband has heard an ear full of all of this. God finally spoke to me about this stuff of cake/great expectations. His speaking to me is always very quiet, in my heart/mind, and somehow I just know it is Him. He has me right where he wants me and he will move me when he wants me to move. I'm dancing with my Heavenly Father! He gets to lead! His dance isn't my dance. His tempo isn't my tempo. I have a hard time following. But his plans always exceed my great expectations.
Be encouraged my friend, most of us are at a different place in life, in one way or another, than what we expected. Often I can look back on times and understand why I had to go through them, to learn some lesson or grown in some way that I needed to grow. When I was in those seasons of life, I can't say that I got what it was about. Then there are those things in life that just don't and will never make sense. But those are the part of the dance where you fall down and the best thing you can do, when you finally have the strength, is to get up, place our hand in God's and start dancing with him again.
Most of the time I don't get it, but I have to keep letting God lead the dance. It isn't easy to keep my eyes on him, but the best and most comforting thing I can do is to be quiet and listen to the dance steps (by reading his Word) 1,2,3, 1,2,3, step forward, now back, to the right, to the left, breath, relax, I got you.
I'm first a follower of Jesus, a wife of 25 years, a mom to three boys, a baker/cook, a photographer, a friend, and a writer.