Autumn makes me think of my grandmother’s pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. She’d cover them in orange buttercream frosting and then decorate the tops with Jack-o’-lantern faces using a rich cocoa icing. I loved those cookies. My grandmother sold them for 35 cents apiece at the local pumpkin festival, and they sold out every year.
My grandmother loved making things that made people smile. As a child hovering around her in the kitchen, I wanted to learn to do whatever she did. We’d stand at the kitchen counter together. Talk of baking would flow in and out of her questions about my schoolwork and what my friends and I were doing. She’d listen with a smile that crinkled the corners of her eyes, prompting me to say even more. I treasured those hours together.
I’ve often thought of my grandmother as one of the “saints” who went before me. I’ve thought of her faith as the thing that let her move through the world as she did, allowing her to smile as she smiled. Experience has shown me, of course, that faith involves more than smiles. In fact, I’m finding that both my faith and my grandmother’s legacy are becoming more and more complex as I live into them.
Excerpted from the essay “Our Imperfect Saints” in today’s Bearings Online. Click here to read more.