Weekly Message from T. J.

All the Things

I have a friend who says often that he is “doing all the things.” He says this to mean that through times of sadness or stress, he does those things, indeed, all those things, which he knows he needs to do to get through. He speaks with friends, attends to his spiritual life, shows up for his obligations, etc. All the things.

But what this phrase implies is another phrase that could follow it—something like, “…in spite of my pain,” or “…because I don’t know which thing will be the one that will help me.” And I think every human being alive understands that.

More than ever we have at an arm’s reach or a finger’s tap, a world of ways, a universe of things, to occupy our minds in any given moment. And I wonder sometimes whether the proliferation of these distractions is a good thing. Are these new ways of escaping and avoiding the spiritual work we need to do in hard times? Are these merely distractions, keeping us from doing all the things we need to do? But in spite of the time I spend wondering about that, I have uncovered what I believe are bright spots shining forth, however humbly, from among the variety of ways we have available to us to get through the pains we all endure. There are gems glinting at us from among the mostly dim distractions I feel can add to all the things we are doing to get through life’s challenges.

So in this spirit, I make a single recommendation to you: The Great English Baking Show. Even the name of the show captures the calm, resolute humility embodied by the participants in what is indeed a reality show. But distinct from American entries in the field of reality shows, this British delight features amateur bakers who seem only interested in competing against themselves, happy to lend a hand, a supporting word, or even a flour caked shoulder to their compatriots for a wee cry. No alliances, no conniving, no gamesmanship. Just baking for baking’s sake…and random camera shots of lambs. Indeed, it is quite English.

One of the portions of each show is dedicated to a technical challenge. The contestants are given all the things they need to make something but just a skeleton of directions to get it done. They have to rely upon their own experience to fill in the ways to get the recipe baked and finished. The results are sometimes comical, with the judges refusing at times to eat the creations for fear of food poisoning. But a lot of them come out just fine, even spectacularly.

Of course I’m not proposing that binging a television show is the answer to the stresses and pains we have. But I am suggesting that spending some time with people who are doing their very best with all the things they’ve got can help to remind me that we are truly in this together. So all I can say to anyone facing the pain and uncertainty so many of us know is…ready…set…BAKE!


T. J.

2 Responses to “Weekly Message from T. J.

  1. lol, yes, lovingly expressing our creativity is always soothing to the soul . . .

  2. You forgot to mention the (often double entendre) baking puns which are made throughout the show! *LOL* The Great British Baking Show is one of my favorite shows of all time, and so illustrative of the difference between British and American reality shows. The Brits seem to more often be content to share the drama that comes from the everyday, rather than manufacturing or building up situations. Also, where so many American reality shows seem to want to portray the worst parts of human nature, this show really makes you feel GOOD about human nature. It is indeed quintessentially English, and most people I know find it boring, but I find it wholly absorbing. And thanks to this post, I can appreciate the life lessons it offers as well. Thanks, T.J. 🙂

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