Written by Steven Liechty
"This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations…" - Exodus 12:14
Every year, when my mother's birthday rolls around, I imagine how old she would be had she not died fourteen years ago. Last year, her birthday fell on a Sunday in what was a tender time in my own life. I missed her terribly.
But on the Sunday of our church's Ice Cream Social, you can't stay glum for long. Outside, the sun was shining, the ice cream was homemade and so were the cakes.
Cakes? Well, even though we call it an "Ice Cream Social," it's really all about the cakes, which come in much greater quantity than the ice cream. Sometimes, it seems like the ice cream is just a vehicle for the cake, and not the other way around.
Knowing it was my mother's birthday, a friend suggested I pick out the cake that would have been my mother's favorite, as if it were her birthday cake. What a beautiful idea.
Unfortunately, my mother hated cake. I don't remember her ever making one, let alone ever eating one. Still, she once told me that at her wedding, she had a coconut cake. She may not have eaten any of it, but she stood next to it in a pretty dress. But where in this day and age would I find an old-fashioned coconut cake? I couldn't remember the last time I seen such a confection.
Yet there under the tent was one beautiful coconut cake and I ate a piece in honor of my mother's birthday. I then thanked the person who had made it. "That's funny," she told me. "I never make coconut cakes. But this morning I woke up with the idea, out of nowhere, that I should make one."
Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for working through us, with odd ideas and strange leadings. We never know when our dish will be part of a memorial feast. Amen.
Lillian Daniel, author of When "Spiritual But Not Religious" is Not Enough, has a chapter in the new anthology, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most. Follow her on twitter @lillianfdaniel.