The Queen’s Cake

It is Thursday, the day Georg died. It is raining and I have so many different things to do, I don’t know where to begin. Instead of getting an early start on my work this morning, I am thinking about Monday’s blog post, which got very few hits, so I am pondering what I might have said wrong (or done wrong in posting.) This leads me to a personal certainty: I always doubt myself.

This is not a productive way to be, but there you have it. Georg would have understood this self-doubt, though he would not have approved of it. He would have wanted me to see myself differently, though I know he struggled too. I look at all he did, and I look at what happened. He died. Gone. End of discussion. Now what? Who’s job is it to make sure that everything he did in life becomes recognized? Why do we want the things we make, do, or say to be recognized? To what end?

NadiyaI caught an NPR interview this morning with Nadiya Hussain, the British woman born in Bangladesh who recently won the Great British Bake Off and was invited to create Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday cake. Nadiya will present the cake to the Queen later on today. Nadiya’s attitude toward the whole thing was so upbeat and lovely, so not over-thinking it. The interviewer was a bit surprised to hear that the baker had not made any test cakes, had not rehearsed what she was going to say to the Queen. For me, it was a lesson in being in the moment. Nadiya was excited and nervous, but I detected no hint of self-doubt, nor of self-aggrandizement. She exhibited all at once both humility and clear-headedness about the task at hand: baking a cake for a queen.

Nadiya is Muslim and wears a hijab. The interviewer wanted to know what insights Nadiya has about being a woman who wears a hijab delivering a beautiful and hopefully utterly delicious cake to the Queen of England. Nadiya said (and I am paraphrasing from memory here), “well I don’t want anyone to look at me and write me off, saying ‘oh, she’s just a Muslim.’ I mean, I am that, but I am also so much more than that.” Then, she said, “It is all a bit higgledy-piggledy, isn’t it?”

Yes, it is. All a bit higgledy-piggledy for sure. And now, I better go back to work. I will remember all this and Nadiya’s example of staying humble, certain, and present-in-the-moment. No rehearsing, just being. I will let Nadiya’s Queen’s 90th birthday cake be an example, for me, always, that there is unexpected goodness awaiting me at every corner.

queen

 

5 thoughts on “The Queen’s Cake

  1. Lisa,
    I always enjoy your posts- the problem is i don’t read email very often, so I often miss your very thoughtful posts I just read the one of several weeks ago and I just read the one about the queens bir†hday cake. You always help me to look more deeply into myself and to examine how and why I often feel unsure about myself at my ripe old age. Love you, Mom

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