Life has a way of loading on more than you can handle. Of piling things on, one after the other. Of hitting you where it really hurts.
And sometimes pushing through the pain and anguish and hard times feels impossible.
Sometimes the only way to move forward is by leaning on you past. The only way to cope with the hurt now is to rely on the good times you’ve known.
Sometimes the only way to find happiness in the darkness is by digging through your past. Sifting through all the hard and hurting times that bubble to the surface until you find a good memory that can carry you through.
I’m the type of person that carries the burden of those around me. I help to carry the feelings of those that I love and cherish. I feel deeply responsible for creating love and comfort for the people I care for.
And making Finnish Coffee Bread has become a special and soothing experience for me. It’s a recipe that holds a special place in my heart and one I have made time and time again.
It’s something I’ve served on Christmas morning. Something I’ve presented to new neighbors. And something I’ve shared with friends who are hurting more times than I can count.
I came into making coffee bread a few years after meeting hubby. It’s always been a special treat his mom has waiting for us when we visit.
Unable to buy it locally, I decided to try to make it. It’s a long process, from mixing the dough, kneading it to the right consistency, waiting for it to rise, shaping it and letting it rise again before topping with a bit of sugar and baking. But the result is always magical, always worth the time and energy invested.
It’s become a family thing, the kids helping to add the ingredients and shape the dough. We all wait eagerly for it come out of the oven so we can a warm bite, fresh out of the oven.
And because it’s not a quick and easy thing, it’s not something we regularly do. It’s for special occasions or rainy days. It’s something I deliberately set out to do, not something done on a whim.
And it’s also the only time I take off my wedding rings.
The dainty bands that represent the past 15 years with my husband are such a part of me now, I hardly notice them but I’ve learned through experience that hand-kneading and rings with holes and engraving aren’t a good match. So, off my rings come, kept in a safe spot until I’m done.
Removing ones wedding rings probably isn’t a big deal to most people. I know many who regularly remove their rings for different reasons and purposes. Those who can slip their rings on and off the same as a well-worn t-shirt.
For me, though, taking my rings off is not a simple task. They fit snugly and take a lot of twisting and tugging to actually remove.
And removing my rings, like making coffee bread, is a choice I make deliberately. Because, for me, those rings represent more than my status as a married woman.
They represent the love I’ve felt for my husband through all these years.
They represent the never-ending support we’ve provided each other.
They represent the time and energy I’ve put into our life together.
They represent the respect I have for him and our marriage.
They represent the commitment I made to him and our children.
They represent our past. A reminder of everything we’ve been through and the journey we’ve been on together.
They represent our now. Which, like my rings, isn’t always been sparkly and pretty.
They represent my hope for our future. I don’t know what adventures await us, but I don’t want anyone else by my side.
And they represent the promises I made when he shook in my hands the day we stood at the altar in front of our family and friends. Promises that weren’t made to a God or for those looking on, but made only to each other.
I don’t remove my rings when I’m angry. I don’t take them off when I’m disappointed or hurting because they’re so much more than gold and diamonds.
And every time I make coffee bread and it’s slipped into the oven, the first thing I do is place those two little rings back onto my hand where they belong.
They’re a constant reminder of why I wake up every morning. A symbol of the happiness in my life and all the things that are good.
And though they can sometimes also be a reminder of the hurting times and the struggles that all marriages go through, they reassure me of my ability to endure and the unbeatable strength my husband and I possess when we work as one.
They are always there to let me know I’m never alone in this world.