Last night was a bittersweet moment at the Peterson household. Catherine, our now unemployed 17 year old daughter, brought cupcakes home from work for the last time. The cupcake shop that is owned by a good friend of mine is having to close her doors. The increasing rent at our mall is making it impossible for family owned businesses to make a profit.
While spooning a bite of Molten lava from my Mexican chocolate cupcake I kept replaying my inspirational pep talks to my friend. It was opening week and I came in to help with baking, frosting, and a good dose of “You can do this!” Now the sweet taste in my mouth is mixing with the bitter cringe of; did I go too far? Did I make her believe in the impossible? Replaying the kitchen scene in my head, she was tossing red velvet ingredients into a mixer while in and out of tears confessing how gut wrenching it is to have not a shred of time for her three small boys. “I never could have imagined opening a store could be this hard, this time consuming, that so much could go wrong all at once.” This is where I came in on the scene to tell her she is making a life long dream a reality and how proud I am of her. At the end of her life she will never have to wonder; “What if?” For better or worse she made a go of it.
Crumbling up my empty cupcake wrapper I grabbed my book and glanced at the cover on my way to bed: Under Dogs by Markus Zusak (my new favorite author). This pinprick in time reminded me of a scene in this book about a dream the protagonist was having. He was watching a small boy swing at the air, all alone in a boxing match. A large crowd has gathered around with their eyes pealed on the fight. He watches as the boy falls down a few times and gets up fighting. When he asks who the boy is fighting, the crowd simply states, “The world.” This boy is clearly the under dog, along with my friend who has just taken a knock out punch.
My body now shivers, not from the night that has breathed into my dim lit hallway, but from the fear of the odds that are never in our favor. My friend’s struggle has brought this reality too close to home. Now I am thinking of my manuscript in the hands of my editor, how much work I have in front of me, how many millions of manuscripts are sitting in the hands of editors, agents, and even publishers right now. What if mine sucks? What if I suck? Do I really suck at life if my book fails?
Night worries tuck me in, but morning awakens me to pray. I decide to ask God about all this inner turmoil. He simply says, “You can’t fail if you don’t quit.” Brilliant I think, because what God speaks in one sentence, opens up a thousand answers. The odds might never be in our favor but God’s in our corner cheering us on! My friend will never be a failure, in fact, she is an inspiration to me. The world gave it’s best knock out punch and she’s still standing. She did what so many of us only dream about, and she made it a reality. Nothing is sweeter than knowing your brave enough to get in the ring.
Cupcake & Co. of Flagstaff will still be open on line and you can order directly from her website. You should really take a look at the cakes she has done as well. The tiered galaxy cake is my favorite.