Notes from Jan

When Love’s Toast

March 4, 2018

March blew in with a powerful Nor’easter, leaving thousands without power, facing significant losses from  prolonged power outages and damaging high tides.

Storms startle and rattle more than windows and doors, leaving us longing for the ordinary.

Friday morning, as I prepared to make coffee and toast, the lights flickered, then went out.

No power, but not for long, just long enough to make me appreciate the value of heat and electricity. Ordinary blessings, easily missed.

While drinking a mug of coffee and  savoring a toasted slice of my brother’s Christmas bread, I recalled a story from the devotional booklet distributed through our church called, Forward  Day by Day.

The author wrote, “I made breakfast for my dad as he was recovering from surgery. ‘Just as you like it,’ I said, presenting him with a plate of dark toast.  He smiled.  ‘I’ve never liked the burnt bread.  I just always took the dark slices because you and your sisters didn’t like them.’ Mind=Blown.  I had been under the illusion for forty years that my dad liked burnt toast.  Instead, his selection was a small sweet act of sacrifice.”

The reading for the day came from Luke 7.  It’s the story of a woman washing the feet of Jesus with her tears, drying them with her hair, then anointing with costly perfume.  The Pharisees complain, “she’s sinful and wasteful.” But Jesus will have none of it. Jesus tells the Pharisees and startled disciples, “She has shown me much love.”(Luke 7:47 NLT)

Most of our loving’s not so dramatic or public, nor our worst storms weather related.

It’s interesting both stories took place over a meal.

Who hasn’t had a storm blow in at mealtime!

Lent affords moments to consider the cost of Love,  to appreciate ordinary sacrifices love makes.

Burnt and blessed.










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  • Reply Dan Russ March 5, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Dear Jan,

    You lovely and insightful reflection reminds me of the following poem by Robert Hayden:

    Those Winter Sundays

    Sundays too my father got up early
    and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
    then with cracked hands that ached
    from labor in the weekday weather made
    banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

    I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
    When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
    and slowly I would rise and dress,
    fearing the chronic angers of that house,

    Speaking indifferently to him,
    who had driven out the cold
    and polished my good shoes as well.
    What did I know, what did I know
    of love’s austere and lonely offices?

    Grateful for you,


    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 6, 2018 at 1:46 am

      What a tender poem, Dan. New to me. Thank you for sharing it so I and others can reflect on Love notes written without words.

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