We are so young,

I think Rainer Marie Rilke is the best known author to remind us of this, but most of the time I’m not able to feel this in my bones. I’ve looked behind me and seen that the last ten years did creep up on me. I sigh and wish I was young and free (I wished for this the other day actually). I wish for the days before work and bills and NEEDING to workout and and all that other stuff. Washing dishes. You get the idea.

But we are so young. I think it’s easy to forget this when we surround ourselves with people mostly our own age. Inter-generational relationships help put things in perspective.

I met last night with two professors from Fuller/Biola – Christian anthropologists as it were. I have been looking for some academic mentors because I am teaching a class next semester that I feel totally unprepared for. I sent them some stalkerish emails. I was then invited graciously over to their house for dinner. A colleague of theirs joined us for dinner, along with her daughter. The husband/father of the family is dying of cancer, simultaneously battling Alzheimer’s. It’s maddening -not sure how much longer he will live, and seeing the person they love slip away. I was struck by this paradox sitting at the dinner table: me, married seven weeks. This woman, married to this man for 46 years. She profoundly confessed that she took a vow 46 years ago, “in sickness and in health” and she was committed to him. She’s been reminding him of this  lately, which seems to sink deep beneath the Alzheimer’s and strike a chord with the man she fell in love with.

It’s hard to get that from your other struggling 26 (27, 28, 29) year old friends. This isn’t to say that we don’t struggle because God knows we do. We struggle, we bury parents, we bring children into the world, we commit ourselves to another person, we make huge mistakes and little mistakes, we get dialysis, I mean we do all of it. For some reason though, I can feel the newness of the life I am embarking on when I sit at a dinner table with folks reaching the other end of their years, who can look at me with worn eyes, who smile when I tell them of all my worries. It just helps put things in perspective.

To Cook

It’s been 180 days since my last post. So, it’s been a while.

Marriage happened. A new apartment happened. I thought I had Rheumtoid Arthritis for a while. Working two jobs happened. And writing sort of stopped. By then it was too late and I started living in my head. Warning: Living in one’s head does lead to panicky moments. One might feel similar to a person talking into a fish tank while the people around him or her can barely make out what one is trying to communicate. However, I want to live from my heart so it’s about time I turn a (metaphorical) page and start to write.

So it’s all happening, but I’ll be honest: I don’t really know how to cook. I mean, yes I’ve got the basics down: can make a mean pasta dish and work wonders with salad bowls.  But tasty appealing dishes that make your mouth water? No.

I mean, I haven’t really had the time…no I take that back. I haven’t created the space for teaching myself how to cook. For taking time to practice the sacred art of feeding people. Or better yet, the ancient art of feeding myself (note: feeding oneself is also basic to survival and therefore mandatory. I do feed myself; but the practice of preparing and savoring my creation: that is another story entirely.)

This has been a standard cooking theme in my life. Cooking never quite interested me – for example, I adamantly refused to learn how to cook a turkey every Thanksgiving. My mom has been trying to teach me since I was in the womb practically and I have remained incredibly consistent in my refusal to stick my arm up a turkey butt. Sure it sounded interesting, exotic even, but no thank you.

Anyway, in some cultures cooking & marriage go hand in hand. Predictable gender stereotypes aside, Matt and I were given a GRIP of cooking wares (look it up: GRIP). My mentor, always thinking ahead, decided to offer a cooking lesson to teach me how to use all the accoutrements I was just given (given by lovely, wonderful women I might add, who had a good laugh as I opened gifts at my bridal shower and said “Ooooooo…..what’s this??”… even though I registered for it. And just a side note: people slip you serious drugs before you start registering at stores, so just keep that in mind).

Anyway, my mentor and dear friend Kristin came over for what I expected to be boot camp cooking lessons. We took things out of boxes, unwrapped packaging, and went over what tools could be used for what (and remember I’ve been married for almost two months  so this process was slightly embarrassing but whatever). The night ended with a messy kitchen, two delicious meals prepared with love and conversations, a drained bottle of wine and some serious encouragement to one another. And I had the confidence to prepare another meal, the next day, for no one in particular but myself.

And I walked away from that night being reminded that we have to feed ourselves before we are able to feed others. A simple truth, but so so easy to forget.

Give Away

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