I was hosting a gathering of friends and students soon so I thought I would make some homemade snacks to show my appreciation for their company. One of the snacks I wanted to make was cookies. With my wheat intolerance, and the food sensitivities of others, I found on a cookie recipe that did not contain any allergens to me or the others – it had me at chocolate chips. Plus it contained healthy ingredients like oats, and various seeds. When I saw the recipe call for 2 cups of sweetener, I raised my eyebrows, but remembered I had made these cookies before and they had turned out quite well. I chose honey as a sweetener….liquid honey. The recipe said “2 cups brown sugar, Monkfruit, or other sweetener”, so I chose honey. Those of you who bake a lot may already see a potential problem, but as I am an occasional baker at best, I was quite happily adhered to what the recipe called for. The recipe also asked for melted butter. When I mixed all the wet ingredients together, it was rather thick, and quite “fluid” – lots of movement. And when I mixed the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, it looked a tiny bit on the “runny” side, but it thickened up after a few minutes so I went ahead and formed cookies spoonful by spoonful on a cookie sheet and put the sheets in the oven.

Almost immediately, the separate blobs of cookie batter ran together into a thin layer of cookie-ness. At that point, I almost took them out of the oven and threw them into the garbage, but I was curious to see what happened so I left them in the oven for the recommended time. The edges browned nicely and the inside was soft. I left the mess on the cookie sheets to cool, but cut the large spread out cookie into strips while they were still warm. They were a bit crumbly. At this point, I was ready to admit failure, but my husband, always the optimist, suggested I try and roll them into something like a crepe, reminding me of the failed glue experiment that resulted in the creation of sticky notes for the 3M company. You could call them “roll ups”, he encouraged.

Due to the warmth, and the texture, rolling the cookies into a smooth creation that could be called a roll proved quite futile, and I was left with oddly shaped bits of cookie wrapped in…other oddly shaped bits of cookie. Again, some would have at this point thrown in the towel, but curious and determined, I took the rest of the cookie dough (yes, there was still lots of raw dough left over), and scraped it into a 9 x 14 baking pan to bake. The cookie dough took an additional few minutes to cook, but I reasoned that the finished creation could be cut into squares and served to save the dough and the day.

I cut into the baking pan while the dough was still warm, and found to my dismay that the dough, though cooked, was very crumbly – like, “no it can’t hold a shape” crumbly. Truly disappointed, I left the pan to cool. Much later, when I tried again to cut the rest of the cookie in the pan, most of it crumbled, but not all – I managed to salvage around 7 pieces, just enough for each person coming to the gathering! I put them in the fridge. I took the soft cookie bits and crushed them to make them smaller until they had a crumb-like texture, interspersed with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips. I gathered the cookie roll ups and put them in a container overnight. I put the crumbs in another container and also put them in the fridge. I didn’t throw them out – maybe I am an optimist as well?

The next morning, I tried a small sample of the uniquely shaped roll ups and found it quite delicious with my coffee. Then, I had plain oatmeal, and added the crumb mixture for sweetness – delicious! And it came to me that this experience was a wonderful metaphor for situations that happen in our life.

In life, we have plans – we have recipes that we have used successfully in the past, and then, in spite of our best intentions, things do not go as planned. I had a cookie recipe that was supposed to, if followed correctly, create a round, delicious cookie! Initially, I thought my efforts were a complete disaster, but then I had a deeper look at the situation.

If the cookies had been created as per the original, I would have had one batch of cookies that all looked the same. In reality, I now had 3 creations – the bar-like pieces, the bizarre-shaped pieces, and a wonderful crumble mix to put in oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt!

It occurred to me that we, humans, are like this batch of cookie dough. We are all made of the same ingredients, but uniquely created so we are unlike any of the other cookies in the batch. We are all still full of sweetness and goodness, but the expression of the ingredients creates something this is unlike any other. I could have thrown out the batch at any time, but my curiosity kept compelling me to work with it, and see what would happen. We have expectations for things to be a certain way, to turn out a certain way, and we are usually disappointed when they do not. Yet what if we let go of our expectations, and be curious about what can be created? It feels like opportunities for something more would be missed, or we would not even be able to see them, because we were so narrowly focused on what we thought we would see, what we wanted to see.