A favorite book of mine is called, “Sleeping with Bread” by Dennis, Sheila and Matt Linn. It’s about a simple discernment process that the Linns teach—helping us to see what matters and what brings us joy.
My favorite part of this book is the story that gives the book its title. This is the story:
“During the bombing raids of World War II thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”
I love everything about that story –the problem and the simple solution. I can relate to the persistence of old feelings and fears—and how any kind of deprivation can cast a long shadow.
Each time I read it I ask myself: What am I trying to hold on to now to meet a need that was in the long ago past? Are all my shoes a kind of “bread”? Old relationships? Old ways of relating to others? And what new bread might I ask for and hold instead? Bread is a spiritual metaphor in every faith—so what bread can I hold instead of shoes, scarves, resentments, jealousies and my sometimes puffy ego?