• Carmen Rempel

Life in Cake

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

“Wow, life sure has dealt them a bad piece of cake.” She told me in all seriousness.

It was too cute.

I didn’t correct her.

I was driving in the car with my 14 year old daughter and I had just told her a sad background story that explained a certain person’s corresponding bad behaviour. “It’s like she got the carrot cake of life.” I said. “Yeah,” she fired back, “The zucchini cake of life.” “The rum soaked raisin cake of life!” “The nutty Christmas cake of life!” we fired various undesirable cake analogies back and forth in good natured fun. She went quiet for a moment looking out the car window as we drove. I said to her in the gentle tone I use (that she hates) when I’m talking about sensitive things “You’ve had some bad cake in your life too. I hope you’ve had all your carrot cake and its all gone now.” She said “Ya. Its like I had a cake that was carrot cake, but now I have ice cream cake.”

I beamed.

Ice Cream cake is her favourite.

She’s my favourite.

We’ve been a family for 4 years now. She hadn’t wanted to be a part of our family at first. Like most adopted kids the journey that led her to our home was…a gluten free vegan cake of experiences; a series of disappointment after disappointment. I was thrilled that she now thought about her life and considered herself blessed. I’ll tuck that sweet moment away in my pocket to savour the next time life stinks and parenting is hard.

“You’ve had bad cake too.” She told me. This time I corrected her. I told her that my life had been pretty sweet and that I had been lucky and hadn’t had too much bad cake. It’s more like a few nuts spread out in it every once in a while. I’m one of the lucky ones. What she said next was the perfect mixture of teenager-self-centredness and childlike brilliance. She then told me that I couldn't have any bad cake anymore, because if I had bad cake then that would mean that she would have bad cake. Because if I was having bad cake it would mean she would be having it too because we are family; connected.

My cake is her cake, and her cake is my cake.

The interdependence of family.

As we drove down the road she went back to looking out the window and I began to muse.

You’re cake is my cake.

Nelson Mandela said “Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

The same sentiment made pop-culture popular in the genius Broadway Musical Hamilton says it this way “But we’ll never be truly free, until those in bondage have the same rights as you and me.”

You’re cake is my cake.

Jesus.

What if we became so aware of our interconnectedness that we became concerned with everyone else’s well being, knowing that theirs effected ours directly? That man busking on the side of the road. What if his cake was my cake too? That young woman serving me my coffee at the Tim Hortons Drive-Thru, what if my cake was her cake too? That CEO riding up the elevator to the top floor, what if her cake was my cake?

What if our pain and sorrow wasn’t individual and separate, but was shared and we partook in it together? What if our joy and blessing wasn’t just ours, but belonged to everyone? I think about the parables Jesus told about the woman who found her lost coin and threw a party and invited everyone to come and partake in her joy. The father whose son had come home, so he threw a party and invited everyone to celebrate and partake in his relief.

The church has been compared to a body. Now here is a confession, a full quarter of my body is covered in tattoos. When I was being stabbed repeatedly around my collarbone, I felt pain in the back of my left knee. I had the urge to kick. It was so strange. Its called pain referral and has something to do with nerves. (Or so my sister tells me.) The body is interconnected. When the hand is in pain, the whole body experiences pain. And shouldn’t it be that when the feet are blessed, the head is blessed as well? When the mouth eats too much cake, the belly gets flabby.

What if we allowed ourselves to be affected by one another? The early church sold everything they had to support one another. So everyone had enough. Those who had much shared with those who had little. Sink or swim together.

What if I could celebrate with you when you get promoted because when you win I win? What if when you loose your house I feel worried because when you have no home, I have no home? In an age of “me” and “I” and independence being an idol (One I bow too far too often) what if we dropped that and became “we”? “Us”? A body.

You’re cake is my cake.

My cake is your cake.

The interconnectedness of family.

Of Church.

Of humanity.


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