i ruined a cake last night. it was monday--specifically the monday on which i was in charge of family home evening for my mid-singles group. and i had arranged for a friend of mine to come do a presentation about the perceptions of race in the mormon church and the 1978 revelation regarding blacks and the priesthood. over the course of the weekend, i had an email interchange with one person who was put off by what he believed would be an exercise in blaming and criticizing the church. "liberal indoctrination" i believe he called it. and then i got a message yesterday from a church leader reminding me that all presenters need to keep their comments appropriate. i was frustrated. i was trying to do something interesting and different rather than the typical mediocre fare and it was being treated like something borderline sacrilegious when nothing could be further than the truth. and it felt like i had been put in a difficult position between the speaker i had invited--a man i respect very highly and who i trust implicitly to read his audience accurately and plan his presentation accordingly--and people at church.
i had forgotten to arrange for others to bring refreshments, so i decided i would make some dessert. and it seemed like it was one problem after another. every egg i broke got shell into the bowl--one egg even spurted egg nastiness onto my sweater. and when i went to put the cake batter (of cake number two) into the pan, i plopped one spoonful in and stood looking at it. it was superthick, and i knew i had done something wrong. a quick look at the recipe revealed that i had put an extra quarter-cup of flour in the batter. and that was it. the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. it felt like no matter how hard i tried, whatever i did just got screwed up.
i stood there for a moment, staring at that cake with all of my self-criticisms flooding into my head and all of the stupid little things that don't matter at all building themselves up into damning evidence of my ineptitude. true, the fact that my hair is really long and takes far too long to manipulate into something resembling a style isn't really evidence of inability, but the fact that i let it frustrate me seemed to be. and a rogue egg splatting onto my clothes doesn't demonstrate my incompetence, but the fact that it made me swear and slam a few things around seemed to be. it's amazing how these little things can undermine our best efforts and intentions and abilities and make them all seem meaningless in the moment.
my cake turned out. it was delicious, in fact. in spite of--or, if you ask my mom who has been saying for a couple of years that that particular recipe needs more flour, because of--my adding too much flour. the FHE was fantastic--an informative presentation, several people asking provocative questions, and almost everyone thanking both armand and me for making it possible. and maybe--just maybe--i'm not an utter failure after all.