I spent my afternoon making pans of lasagna and french bread to share with friends and family. I’d deliver two batches that evening, two more the following day, then the final pan and loaf the next day.
But the bread wasn’t rising well. It happens sometimes. I was on a time crunch, so I ended up sliding it into the oven to bake even though it was barely half the normal size. I pulled the skinny loaves from the oven when they seemed about as done as they’d be, wrapped them in foil, and delivered them with apologies that they might be two dense or doughy.
No one seemed to mind.
I needed more bread for the following days, so I returned home to try again. This time the loaves baked as they usually do. They rose with no problems and ended up fluffy and lightly browned.
Sometimes we don’t know why something works one time but flops another. We like reliable formulas of “if ___, then ___.” We want books that tell us exactly what to do with each situation, but there are too many factors beyond our control. Relationships are messy, people are complicated, and experiences are immeasurably varied. That doesn’t mean we throw all consistency out the window. But it means we’re not as surprised when something doesn’t turn out the way we expected, when someone surprises us for good or for bad.
We all have flops. And fluff. We all have trials and triumph. We all have sorrow and success.