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Bake a Loaf of Banana Bread...or Not.

Whenever someone makes banana bread for me, I can't help but laugh to myself, and it always reminds me to do a self check.

In 2005 my friends and I were new Mommies and our babies were about 6 months. We did the brave thing and decided to get together with all our children too.

Our friends had an apartment where there were people who rented or owned their condos. There was also a property manager who lived there, and a bulletin board near the pool. This is where we were hanging out and having our lunch. Did I mention we had six month old babies and were new Mommies?

Well there was a bunch of residents who were out on the courtyard playing some fancy game, maybe it was called...croquet? I assume we were ruining their concentration, or just the sound of our children annoyed them, and they kept giving us the "stink eye"

Anyway, one of my friends dared me to tell them all "To bake a loaf of banana bread." And, me being the crazy friend in the group, (without thinking about what the underlying meaning that phrase meant) did just that.

"Oh go bake a loaf of banana bread!" Is what I said out loud without hesitation. My friends laughed and I wasn't sure if they were embarrassed or glad I did what I did, but the fancy croquet players did not seemed amused at all.

Of course I looked at my friend, and asked "What did that mean?' She then told me to go to the bulletin board and read the a message that was posted up there from the property manager to all the residents.

I am going to give you my version, and what I got from it because of course I can't remember the whole thing word for word. So here is my perspective of what "Go bake a loaf of banana bread!" Means to me...

Aloha everyone,

We live in a place where it is inevitable that we will cross paths, and will need to interact with one another. I am hoping that we can all have positive relationships with one another. I understand there will be moments when we will have conflict with one another.

I would ask if it is a matter that really requires a third party to solve the issue? I understand your feelings are important, and I would like for us to do our best to be mindful of one another.

There is no way to control the actions of people around us. The only thing we do have control over is how we interpret people's actions, and how we react to them.

If someone hurt your feelings, offended you, is bothering you, as things will happen when we are living so close to one anther, and you feel the need to say something. Don't make it anyone's responsibility to communicate for you. Lets find a way where we can all communicate.

If someone did something that bothers you, and you feel the need to approach them. Go home and bake a loaf of banana bread for them. When you are done baking it, wrap it up nicely and take it to them. Offer it to them as a gift, and find a gentle way to say how what they did upset you, and do your best to have a civil conversation about it, while finding a solution.

If you don't want to go through that whole process, maybe it is something you can brush off and let go.

Just please be careful not to store the offenses in a memory bank where you find yourself with a long list of people and all the things they did that bothered you.

You really don't want to find yourself in the future baking a lot of banana bread for everyone around you. That will take so much time and energy from you.

If you find yourself planning to bake a lot of banana bread for people, it could possibly be that you are unhappy, complain a lot, and notice a lot of small things that could be ignored instead of entertained in your thoughts?

On the other hand, if you find yourself receiving a lot of banana bread from a lot of different people. You might want to (again) do a self-check to see if maybe...just maybe there are a few things to work on within yourself. Are you the common denominator? Is being in conflict with people more important than living in harmony with them?

Either way each situation, invites you to participate in self reflection.

All in all, we all live and do things the best way we know how. It's not necessarily meant to hurt or offend anyone, but sometimes it does. Are you willing to do your best to be more attentive of how your actions affect those around you? For example, when you interact with someone do they seem delighted to see you, or does it look like they are trying to find the nearest exit when they see you approaching.

If we are just being nit-picky and thinking that we are doing good by bringing awareness can lead to more unnecessary conflict that will just take more time and energy that leaves us exhausted. We can decide if we want to resist that urge to say something, keep our peace pray for them, and allow others the space to learn and grow in their own time. We may just be the very ones who need that space to be still, find our peace learn and grow in our own time.

We don't have to be so nit-picky. One definition for nit-picky I found was...An informal way to describe someone who is overly focused on tiny unimportant details.

When we find ourselves in this emotional battle regarding those around us, we can decide if our relationship is worth baking them a loaf of banana bread and working through it together with them because we value their friendship. Or we can choose to create healthy boundaries and distance ourselves until we are in a good head space.

Now, when some bakes you a loaf of banana bread I hope it makes you think, and you laugh to yourself too.

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"The Steadfast of the lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" 

Lamentations 3:22-23


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