I stepped into my neighbor’s home and was greeted with the delicious, comforting aroma of freshly baked bread. I breathed in deeply, and for a moment I was back home, back in the days where I was one in a large brood of Shepards all under the same roof. (Or on the same tank, as the case may be.)

I voluntarily took up the art of bread making, and I’d scarcely pull out a batch from the oven before members of our brood swarmed to the kitchen like vultures to a carcass. I’m sure we knocked out an entire loaf in three minutes flat. It couldn’t be helped. It’s in our genes. Mama often talked about the days when her mother would serve “bread and butter come for supper” as a light, easy meal. Of course, I wasn’t always keen on the fruit of my labors disappearing faster than Olaf on a summer day. I’d chide and shoo them away to no avail. But true to my roots, sooner or later out would come the butter and honey. You can only hold off vultures for so long.

Oh, how I miss those days. The warm, fresh slice of bread with honey dripping off the crust, of course. But more so the simple days of childhood. Security. Stability. Laughter. Siblings to squabbles with. Parents to provide for you and make the hard decisions for you. Days where the biggest struggle is keeping your pesky brothers out of the kitchen for longer than five minutes.

And yet, I don’t truly wish those days back again. They’re better left where they are, as sweet distant vignettes without the harsh, grim realities to mar the pleasant memories. I know fully well life wasn’t perfect “back in the good ole days.” (And I also realize I’m probably not old enough to use that phrase.) There is no such thing as a perfect day, or a perfect era. Perfection will never be reached this side of heaven.

And it’s because of that fact, or perhaps in spite of it, that I smile at the past even as I wince a little. Our time on earth is like a blip on a screen. Like the crickets that sing at night and go silent by morning, we enter this world like every other human being and all too quickly are gone again. Why waste your short life craning your neck backward to gaze at what’s over and done? Live in the present, with the wisdom gained from the past, in light of the future.

Man can’t live by bread alone. And we shouldn’t let the sweet memories of yesteryear be our only sustenance. Jesus is coming back soon, and there’s no time to waste crying over spilled milk. One day we’ll be in the Land of plenty enjoying that flowing milk and honey, and we will wonder and laugh at the poor substitutes for sweetness we once craved. There will be no end to the feasting on the Bread of Life, and no pleasure lost in losing “the good ole days.”

That’s even better than bread and butter come for supper.

(Especially when you can’t eat gluten anymore. . .)

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