When my husband and I were first married, we hosted a dinner for our families. My parents were in town and things felt a bit tense for reasons I won’t go into now, but let’s just say I wanted everything to be perfect. I scrubbed our townhouse for days, dragging Steve along the cleaning train with me. I tried to plan the perfect menu even though I hadn’t really cooked for a lot of people at this point in my younger life. If all else failed, I was confident that dessert would be a huge success. I had a bundt cake recipe that was melt in your mouth delicious and would be the perfect end to my perfect dinner.
As I took the cake out of the oven and flipped it over, I discovered to my horror that half of the cake was still clinging to the top of the pan. And there on my perfect little plate was a crumbling mess of a cake. I looked at my husband and crumbled along with that bundt cake. All of my anxieties started oozing out of me and I started to cry. And then I panicked. And started running around the kitchen saying that I needed to bake another cake. (Which was a little tricky since my guests were coming in a matter of hours and I still had some cleaning and cooking and showering to do.) In spite of Steve’s reassurance that the cake was fine, I sped to the store and ran through the aisles like a unhinged woman, grabbing whatever ingredients I could find. At home, I quickly threw the ingredients into the bowl as my husband tried to help in any way he could. (Quietly I might add as I think I might have been scaring him a little.) Long story short, when I dumped that new cake onto the tray, it looked absolutely perfect.
Phew. I could hear Steve breathe a sigh of relief.
We survived that dinner. Overall, the night was a success and Steve and I high-fived each other in celebration of our survival. As we cleaned up the kitchen together, I looked at the broken bundt cake that Steve had saved, not wanting to throw it out because – well, it was cake. I reached under the saran wrap, grabbed a small piece and popped it into my mouth. My eyes grew wide as I slowly chewed the sweet goodness. I grabbed another piece and held it to Steve’s mouth saying, ‘You have to try this.” It was the best version of that cake I had ever made. It tasted so much better than that other cake I had insisted be perfect. Truth be told, that “perfect” version was actually a bit dry and bland. But that broken version. It was cake heaven. And all of my guests had missed it because I was unwilling to serve imperfection.
What if our brokenness is where we find the most beauty?
I thought of this story as I have been working to finish my Have I Told You lately card project. During the entire process, I have carried an image in my head of what I wanted everything to look like and I can’t tell you how stuck I often got because of it. I almost didn’t finish, because it wasn’t as perfect as I wanted it to be. In fact, if you order a set today, the first printing has several little goofs. It says there are 80 cards, when it fact, you will get quite a few more than 80. A couple of the cards aren’t quite what I thought when I sent them to the printer, and a few other things need to be refined and fixed. I told a friend that I was just going to move forward because if I couldn’t embrace the imperfections of my product, no one was ever going to see it. And I so want you to see it. I am not saying it is cake heaven, but I really think this is a product worth sharing. And not only that, your kind encouragement and support have been an unexpected gift. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me.
Our brokenness is where we find the beauty. When we are willing to be vulnerable and take risks and love without guarantees, our broken looks a lot more whole than perfection.
Here’s to broken bundt cakes.