My favorite dessert is found at Olive Garden.  Lemon Cream Cake - yum!  I do know I'll skip the meal just to eat the dessert.  It's made of this delicious bottom layer of light lemon cake followed by a creamy lightly lemon tasting fluffy layer, another layer of lemon cake topped with these delicious crumbs.  My love of lemon goes way back.  I'm not a lover of chocolate, but lemon, it's my version of chocolate:)  I love that dessert so much that one day I decided to try to replicate it at home.  The web provided me knock-off recipes that claimed to be the "actual" Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake.  So I set off to make this thing I loved.  When I got it all done it, in appearance, seemed close.  Oh man, was I excited.  I took a bite.  It was good.  But the texture wasn't quite the same, nor the proportions of cake to cream to crumbs and the taste was not quite the same as the Olive Garden original.  What was missing?  Love is a little like that - the magic ingredient.  It's this thing that you can't always define, can't live without, don't truly know how it impacts us or others fully, but is both given away and received.  Sunday I was shifting through files when I ran across a handful of letters I had saved over the years from people in my life.  I found one from my great grandmother, one from my grandmother, tons from my daughter, several from my sisters, one from my brother-in-law, several from friends who mean the world to me, and one from my dad.  I began to read them all.  What I marveled at was what these people's love had done for me.  Just the fact that they loved me and expressed it was powerful.  Looking backwards I realized their love had added a magical ingredient, a dimension to my life.  They each brought a bit different type of love to my life.  My great grandmother was encouraging me from being ahead of me in the race of life.  She was a prayer warrior who prayed for me.  I felt her love again in that letter even though she has been gone for many years.  Grandma's love was simple and pure and wanted me to know that I was always welcome to eat her food, just to be with her.  As I read her letter I realized she loved me with this special grandma love that we must get when grandchildren come into our lives.  The cards and letters from my two sisters spoke of this love that stays in the ring with you during the fights of your life.  I was reassured that they were on my team, pulling for me, valuing what I brought to their life as their sister.  Their love had consistently been a foundation in my life, a haven and like a pack of sideline cheerleaders.  I was better because of their sister love.  My hand fell upon a letter received from a friend while I had been chronically ill for several years.  The discouragement I felt was almost visible and her letter was ordained by God for such a time as I was in.  Her friend love showed me about God's language in suffering.  She loved me enough to want to tackle a tough subject with someone who was suffering.  Her love make me see God differently.  There were cards and letters from my daughter's growing up years.  That love was creatively expressed in what she wrote and usually how the card or letter was designed.  Her love made me feel blessed to have been given the privilege of being her mom.  The envelope was dated 1984 with a return address of my dad.  It came just a few days after I started college.  He was apologizing for his harsh words several days earlier when he took me to college for the first time.  His love allowed him to be real and ask for forgiveness, to show that he was trying to find a new way to "love" me to the adult world, that he wanted me to win, he was proud and wanted me to fulfill what God had for me.  His love through the years has made me feel protected and watched over.  What had all these people loving me done for me? It made me partly who I am, gave me power to live, laid a soft blanket underneath me, fostered confidence, provided safety, gave encouragement, challenged me, grown my heart, made me feel treasured.  There is though one more kind of love that I want in my life someday - connecting heart love - what I did not have in 25 years of marriage.  I want to connect mind, soul, spirit and body because of a love that gets the other person and simply wants to love them.  I want it to be fully sided, not one sided.  I want it to be the kind of love that makes you better, celebrates you and yet lets you be you.  Someday I trust it will happen.  Love is a magic ingredient in life.  It takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.  It is the backdrop of God's creation, the death and resurrection of Jesus, salvation and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  In the purest form it simply empowers us and is this wonderful "Lemon Cream Cake" -  the magical ingredient we can give to others.

1 comment:

  1. Amen Lynn...I concur

    FYI ~ went to Olive Garden Sunday for lunch and
    I ordered my favorite dessert there, The Lemon
    Cream Cake! for reals! (and coffee) :)