Cookies and Cancer.


Tonight I’m making a batch of Chocolate Chippers for tomorrow’s long rehearsal of Thomas Circle Singers . I love these traditional, tasty chocolate chip cookies. They are a bit salty, sweet, and when made just right, slightly chewy. So delicious. Every time I make these I think about the woman who gave me the recipe, my former colleague, Gloria.

She was a fantastic first grade teacher. Knowledgable, patient, humorous, and caring woman. She and I had lunch many a day at our little North Kansas City elementary school. We shared stories and she became a mentor and friend. She gave me lots of recipes; I believe with the primary goal of pairing me up with her son. It was in that year of 2001-2002 that I started making these beloved rounds of yum.

I had know that she had bravely kicked breast cancer ass a few years prior. And it wasn’t far after I left NKC for the opera that I had heard she was fighting again. And not long past that, she succumbed to brain cancer. I made the cookies. I wept.

In the passing years, cancer would strike family and friends with its brutal and vengeful sword. It would take my Aunt Nancy, my dear friend Pam, and strike friends in their prime of life. It would rip through the hearts and lives of families. And this week, it took another mentor, Beth, who started as the mom of a classmate and became a shepherd in musical leadership.

I hate cancer. And I’m sure you do too. It has no rhyme or reason. It offers us a chance to know both the unique fragility of the human body and the inordinate strength of the human spirit.

So I make the cookies and every single time reflect on the short and amazing chances I’ve had to learn and grow from incredible people. I offer up silent praises as I measure, sift, beat, stir, and bake. I treasure the cut out-xerox piece of paper that holds this most sacred of recipes. Not for its sweet tooth satiation but for its place in silent memorial of those gone by.

Tonight as the last cookies cool I pray for those who fight, for those who love, for those who care for, for those who research, for those who have not yet fought, and for those who mourn. May the souls of the eternal departed rest in peace. And may Jesus have a whole plate of cookies waiting for our reunion.



PS-8 minutes, never 10. If you use butter, used salted!

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