Finding grace in a batch of hot biscuits
Do you know what it’s like to move freely through time, to see the past, present and future all at once, and sense a connection to all that’s gone before, all that is and is still yet to come?
Yes, I do mean without the use of hallucinogenic drugs.
When it happens in a church it’s called a sacrament — a baptism, communion or other religious ceremony — an outward symbol of an inner grace to remind us of the mystery that somehow we are all part of the circle of life.
It is a sacred and holy thing that isn’t limited to a church pew. It can happen any place, any time. But when it happens in a kitchen, it’s called a biscuit.
As a child, after my parents split apart, I fell into the chasm between them and found it hard to climb back out. Lucky for me, I had my grandmothers. They had spent their lives mending and patching and salvaging all sorts of things that were broken or tattered or torn.
They were good at it. And that is what they did for me, little by little, bit by bit, with stitches of love, scraps of hope and the bonding glue of belonging. They made me feel whole again.
One morning my dad’s mother taught me how to make biscuits. First we washed our hands. Next we gathered the makings: flour, buttermilk and lard she measured from memory. We stirred it up, patted it out and cut it in circles. I did most of the work, but she helped. I plopped them in her cast iron skillet and she slid them in the oven of the wood stove. Then came the hard part: We had to wait.
While we waited, she told me that she had made biscuits with her grandmother long ago and maybe someday, I’d make them with my grandchildren, too.
I laughed trying to picture it.
Finally, when the biscuits were golden brown, we took them out and split them open to slather them with her handchurned butter and her homemade blackberry jam. She ate two. I ate four. They were good. I wish you could’ve tasted them.
A lifetime later, just last week, I spent a morning with Henry, my 2-year-old grandson, just the two of us. I don’t get to see him and his cousins nearly as much as I would like, but I fly in for visits as often as I can and we make the best of it.
On her way out the door to teach school, Henry’s mama grinned at me and said, “I bet Henry would love to help you make biscuits for breakfast!”
First we washed our hands. Then we gathered the makings. Henry peeled the wrapper off the can and I rapped it hard on the counter to pop it open.
He did most of the work, but I helped. He plopped them in the pan and I slid them in the oven. Then came the hard part. We had to wait.
While we waited, I told him that I had made biscuits with my grandmother long ago and maybe someday he’d make them with his grandchildren, too. He laughed trying to picture it.
Finally, when the biscuits were golden brown, we took them out and split them open to slather them with butter and agave nectar. Henry ate two. I ate four. They were good. Not as good as my grandmother’s, but still, I wish you could’ve tasted them.
Henry and his cousins don’t need mending. Thanks be to God, they’re as whole as whole can be. But whenever we spend time together, they patch up little places in my heart that I didn’t even know were broken.
Life itself is a sacrament, an outward symbol of an inner grace that reminds us of the mystery that we are all part of a never-ending circle.
It is anchored by the past and given wings by the future, but it is lived only in the present, in the awareness of each precious moment — in a light that gleams through a stained-glass window or the smell of biscuits baking in the oven or the sweet holy touch of a child’s hand on your face.
Look. Can you see it?
Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.