Ode to my bread maker…

There are some objects that can tell a story, one beyond their physical presence in our lives. When the story ends it is good to recite it. To remember the history as an ebenezzer (marker of Gods presence and goodness) in the ground.

And so to my breadmaker. 

I was given it when I left a church I worked for in my early 20s. I’d been there as a student worker for a couple of years and loved many things about it. For a start it was in Cockfosters (got to love that name…), it was where I started to learn to preach and lead services, it was where my ‘ministry’ was shaped, where I discovered that success is not about numbers but about loving those you are with and paying attention to the reality of God in our lives, it was where I inhaled a whole load of Eugene Peterson and found a depth to my work. It was where I hung out with students in North London, went to parties with them and saw their dance shows, it was where I saw the aching loneliness of life in halls and soaked in the mixing pot of cultures, spiritualities and humanity around me.

It was a place where I found delight in small children, meeting with my boss and family each Monday lunchtime and being loved by their 4 and 2 year old was one of the best things about those years. It was a place I learnt more about myself and look back with immense fondness at the love I was shown by the church family. 

It was also a place I struggled with singleness and the glut of friends getting married straight out of uni. (Ah Christian culture). I went to see friends with their new collection of shiny kitchen equipment, rice cookers, bread makers, all for people who weren’t me. 

Another friend and I talked lots about these things in our 20s. There was a strange pull in us to leave good things until we were married, until we had another life to share them with. Looking back this seems SO odd but it was probably the culture and family backgrounds we grew up in, the expectation that marriage would come early and be the heart of our lives.

I am thankful that we talked about this oddness and did something about it. Bought the picnic blanket that only married friends seemed to have just for us. Went on adventures with mates rather than wait for some uncertain future. 

When I left the church the vicars wife sourced the best breadmaker and it was their leaving present to me. I still don’t know what the thinking was behind it but it remains one of the best presents I’ve ever received. It said, you don’t need to wait until you are in a mythical relationship to have amazing bread, you can be you all by yourself and still experience goodness. It was a symbol to me that life was not about finding the other half of me but was enjoying the goodness around me now. 

I loved it. 

It also lasted (thanks Carol because you sourced a good one!). 20 years I’ve had it. It’s lasted through many of the wedding presents I got when I did eventually, to my surprise, get married. It’s kept us in warm bread and pizza dough for years. 

And then last week it vibrated off the countertop and died, as all things do. 

We replaced it straightaway because unlike the mixer, the microwave, and other broken things we haven’t got around to replacing, we use it weekly and I reckon another 20 years is worth paying out for. The new one is the same model but the more recent version (because who likes change?). It’s a lovely machine. 

And there you have it. To my breadmaker and all the richness of finding life here and now that it symbolised to me. May you rest in peace.

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