On a cold winter day, my door bell rang. There stood my dear friend, Ginger, with a freshly baked loaf of sour dough bread. It was still so hot, she held it with two thick pot holders. I invited her in and the rich aroma permeated my kitchen. It only took me about thirty-seconds to find out the bread tasted as awesome as it smelled. On that long ago day, Ginger’s gift of friendship and bread were medicine for my hurting heart. I’d just returned from a care-giving jaunt to my home in Mississippi. My dad was dying. Over the next six months as he died, Ginger brought me the sour dough blessing each time I returned home to Oklahoma. Her sweet gesture continued to be an amazing comfort.
A month or so after my dad’s death, Ginger offered to teach me how to make the bread saying, “There’s something healing about kneading and baking your own.” It was a new endeavor for me but with her help, I soon mastered sour dough 101 and for the next ten to twelve years, fresh sour dough bread was a staple at our home. I followed Ginger’s lead, shared loaves with others, and taught neighbors to bake their own healing loaves too. The secret to the wonderful bread was a starter that supposedly had been passed down for over a hundred years. Soon, between Ginger and I both, there were probably ten to twelve ladies regularly baking this bread. We expanded our recipe to make pizza and cinnamon rolls but it was the pizza people were crazy about. Friends would call and ask me when I was baking it again. They just loved that pizza. I have to admit, it was awesome.
Over the years, from time to time my starter or Ginger’s would die because we’d get busy and let it sit idle for too long. It was no problem because we’d just tell one of our friends we needed a starter and they’d give us one. I moved out-of-state and then back and my days were too busy to bake bread. My starter died but I wasn’t concerned because I ‘d call Ginger and get another one. But before I could call her to get one, she called to say she needed one. Her’s had died too. We each called everyone we knew who made the bread and no one had a starter–NO ONE! Everyone’s starter had died. We were sad but we thought we’d get another. Unfortunately, we never found one that matched the taste of our old original potato water starter.
For about twenty-five years, we’ve lamented over the long-lost bread recipe. We reminisce about how good it was and about the wonderful aroma-filled-house and the comfort that bread brought. Then we’d try some other starter again but none ever compared to our old faithful.
A couple of weeks ago I was aboard a plane, headed back to Tulsa when I met the sweet lady seated next to me. She told me she’d been gone over a week and was eager to get back home and make certain her sour dough starter had survived her absence. My ears perked up immediately. I asked her about the starter and it sounded very much like the one Ginger and I used to make. I shared my fond memories with her of our sour dough days. Then Norma, my new acquaintance, offered to give me a starter. She added, “Assuming it survived my travels.” We exchanged numbers and I eagerly texted Ginger to tell her I may have found our bread. The next week, Norma called and invited me to come pick up my new starter. When I arrived at her home, she had two starters waiting and a wonderful loaf of fresh bread. I tasted it and it was as if I’d stepped back in time—the taste of that bread washed me with sweet comfort. I was amazed to think that Ginger and I could make our bread again and perhaps pass the memory to our grandchildren.
My heart is still singing a song of thanksgiving. I believe God orchestrated my meeting with Norma. After all, His Word says He’s knows the number of hairs on our head, has engraved our names on the palm of his hand, and collected our tears in a bottle. Why wouldn’t he care about two dear friend’s and their sour dough bread of comfort?
Psalm 56:8 You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
Isaiah 49:16 I have engraved you on the palm of God’s hand–
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you
Matthew 10:30 And even the very hairs on your head are numbered.