Smells always take us somewhere in our memories. Cinnamon in particular takes me back to my childhood home. My mother often made me cinnamon toast for breakfast and several times a year my grandmother’s famous cinnamon rolls.
My maternal grandmother was affectionately called Momo (pronounced mom-oh.)
She would come to Texas for several months out of the year, moving from house to house within our family. At each house she would set up shop in the kitchen and make our favorites.
Strawberry pie, apricot jam, chocolate cake, biscuits and gravy, country steak and potatoes, chicken and dumplings and the list is as long as the calorie count.
Nothing reminds me of being in the kitchen, learning from Momo, more than the smell of cinnamon rolls in the oven. That yeasty, sweet smell just makes me feel her warm words teaching and correcting me all over again.
Although I cook most of her recipes throughout the year, I had yet to conquer the hardest one of all, till yesterday. I can’t really say that I conquered it completely. But I did attempt the strenuous recipe. Momo’s cinnamon rolls were to die for, delicious. But she would make the biggest mess you can imagine in the process. One of our shared family memories of her is the humorous image of her pushing up her glasses while she was kneading the dough, leaving her glasses covered in clumps and smudges. She didn’t seem to mind though and she always cleaned it up.
I wasn’t looking forward to flour…my goodness the flour, that goes everywhere in the process of making this gooey goodness. But I knew it was time to introduce my little baker, Molly-Kate, to Momo’s cinnamon roll secrets.
So yesterday in my kitchen, as I was exaggerating and elongating the explanation of how wonderful these cinnamon rolls would be, my daughter said, “Why would we do all this work, when we can buy great cinnamon rolls in a can?”
I explained how all the work makes cooking from scratch taste so much better. And I silently prayed that I was right. She raised a great question that applies to life in general.
What motivates us to go through a step-by-step, messy process when instant satisfaction is available the easy way?
If cutting a few corners in cooking is the only area of our lives where we take the easy road, we are not doing too badly. But there are critical times when we MUST know how to follow directions, even when the process may seem difficult and certain steps unnecessary.
Making cinnamon rolls, requires that you wait several times for extended periods, for the yeast to take it’s full effect. The rising comes with the waiting. It is the same with us. It is only when we submit to the recipe God has given us that we truly experience the effect of all things working together for our good!
And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
The work may be messy at times and the waiting seem grueling, but while we wait our opportunities are multiplying, rising up to meet us. Many things in our lives can be microwaved and instantly the space called desire can be filled with a substitute. But there is no substitute for waiting. We have imitation flavorings for almost everything including liquid smoke but there is no way to bottle up the taste of fermentation without adding some time. The waiting makes life sweeter.
Don’t rush the process. Don’t skip the steps you don’t understand. Life is more complicated than a batch of cinnamon rolls, but trusting God’s timing, makes it as simple as following a recipe.