The Doughnuts

"There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve -- even in pain -- the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain." - Dietrich Bonhoffer

My family descended the steep street and traced the footprints we left 2 years ago that led us to a familiar, antiquated tiny shop.

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A lady was already ahead of us, waiting to be served patiently to the lady who owned this shop who seemed to know her well.

"I'm sorry..." the lady's voice directed to us when our turn came.

"No!No!No!" "That was okay!" my husband, son and I replied in a harmonic unison.

"What do you like?" she asked the three of us.

"Please give us 3 chocolate-glazed, 3 of the plain ones...hmmm..."we paused, not confused with the variety of delicious, freshly-made doughnuts inside the glass case as there were only a few. Her son cut in and just put one freshly-made ring-shaped favorites.

"May I have coffee-crumbed ones?" my son uttered, as his index finger pointed at those.

"4 more and you will have them in the same price as 7 pieces," she said.

We looked at each other. We knew those choices were not healthy for us but we remembered this mother and son pair who made those delicious doughnuts when we came in this special place where we enjoyed taking a break from our busy schedules. And we wanted to bless them by going back and buying a dozen though we won't be able to eat all.

"I have to tell you something," I started confessing.

"We were here 2 years ago and we remembered how delicious these doughnuts were."

"Oh, thank you!" the old lady replied as a wide smile slowly appeared.

"We have been doing this for 43 years," she added with this secret that was supposed to be known.

"Here," I handed her some cash and was received by those wrinkled hands. She opened the cash register and started counting the amount that she was supposed to give me back.

"Please keep the change," we all said. "Thank you and we'll see you again."

Back at the place where we were staying, my son hurriedly removed the top lid covering the box and exposed the choices that we had made. The smell of freshly-brewed coffee filled the entire atmosphere surrounding us, as my son poured some cold milk in his glass.

Grabbing the doughnuts with our fingers through the holes, we savored the avoided treats for so long.


After downing 2 pieces each, we decided to stop there. I knew that despite the self-control we would always long for these. However, there seemed to be something always missing...Was it because there were holes in those little fried cakes?

And how true it is, too in our lives. How we often grab and take a hold of those things that truly do not matter. Things that never satisfy us. The truth is we should aim for those holes that we do not see.We should reflect on the void that God applies in each human life He creates. The gap that only He can fill...

"So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." - 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)
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