I love to write and I love cupcakes therefore I will write
There he sat with his eyes glazed over in her direction as she asked him if he was allergic to soy sauce. She asked once, twice, three times and he didn’t answer her until I nudged him and said, “Are you allergic to soy sauce?” He still didn’t answer but I looked at the waitress and said yes because even though he isn’t actually allergic to soy sauce he is on a special diet which necessitates staying away from foods high in sodium. Throughout the night he slipped in and out of conversations, sometimes coherent, sometimes not. I looked over at him often and he’d just be looking off into the distance. I wonderered what he was thinking about or if his mind even registered a thought. The scar under his mustache from his first electrocution makes him constantly look like he is frowning and it scares me. But it isn’t just that that scares me, it’s that a year from now when I return to this place he may not be here.
She has lost a lot of weight from a recent diet, lost a tooth because of bone loss from other diets, been in and out of dermatologist’s offices for a birthmark spreading over her face that without makeup makes her look like she is the victim of domestic violence. Despite all of this, she was recently pronounced diabetes free, she exercises three times a week, and she eats healthily. Yet tonight as we sat at dinner and she ordered a strawberry lemonade I wanted to reprimand her because of the amount of sugar in the drink. I’m afraid she’ll go into a diabetic shock and relapse. I want to smack away the spatula full of noodles heading toward her plate because it’s not gluten-free. I want to tell people to lower their voices so that she can be heard when she speaks on a whisper. This is my mom and she’s is quite healthy by most standards but I can’t help but look in her eyes and feel like something ominous could be knocking on her door and that a year from now when I return to this place she may not be here.
I just turned 31, am relatively healthy and of sound mind, but I am their youngest daughter. The one who speaks to them the most, the one who visits them the most, the one who is seemingly most concerned with them. I’d drop whatever I’m doing in whatever part of the world if I found out they were in need of me. I am the daughter they adopted and they are the only parents I’ve ever known. In many ways they are the only love—on this earth—that I’ve known. I have other family and friends but it is these people who are my heart. I could lose all else in this world but still have a place to call home in them.
Every birthday I go through these motions fearful that my next birthday will be spent alone because I’ve lost both of them. This year, as I blew out the candle on my birthday cupcake, I made a wish wishing that next year I won’t be alone, wishing that I will return to this place and he and she will be here. God, I know you don’t do wishes, but I hope you see my heart. I know at the end of the day, your will be done but I only ask that next year, please don’t let me be or feel alone as I do now. Nevertheless, your will be done.
A few hours shy of yesterday but better late than never…
Goal#29: Honor the Sabbath
Why? I can’t remember when last I had a real Sabbath rest. Nowadays the possibility of taking a Sabbath on the Sabbath is impossible because I am interning at a church on Sundays and I have an endless amount of papers due. As I type this I am sitting in my bed surrounded by notebooks, highlighters, and books all beckoning me to give them some attention when all I want to do is rest. My Sabbath rest is comprised of being so worn out that I just don’t feel like doing work so I don’t instead of voluntarily taking a day off from work. I have bags under my eyes that I wish would go away because they don’t photograph well—yeah I admit I can be kind of vain. My family and friends continuously tell me to take it easy, rest, and don’t feel bad for resting but when you have papers due, sermons to preach, exams to take, and pages to read, rest seems wasteful. Why does this Sabbath matter so much to me in my 31st year of life? Simply because I’m not getting any younger and if I believe my body is the temple of the living God than my temple can’t be broke down. How can God work through me if I’m always tired? So at 31 I want to set aside one day every week to rest. Free from work and free to rest in whatever way is necessary. Free to rest so that I can be free to work with and for God.
Today marks the countdown to my 31st birthday. I decided that there is no better way to count down the days until I turn 31 than to make goals for each of those. 30 goals that I want to achieve in my 31st year of life. I’m making these public so that my friends who do read them can hold me accountable for achieving these goals. This will also be a challenge for me because I don’t like making goals, I just like throwing hot dogs down hallways and seeing where they land. So, here goes:
Goal #30: Learn How to Swim
Why? Obviously because I don’t know how to swim. I know it’s sad to be 30 and not know how to swim. It’s sad to have spent a portion of your life being raised in Florida and not know how to swim. It’s sad to be black and fulfill the stereotype of not knowing how to swim. I figure there’s no better time in life than my 31st first year of life to learn how to swim because I may need to know how to if I, say, go on a honeymoon to the Great Barrier Reef and want to swim in it—assuming that such a thing is allowed. And even if I don’t go on a honeymoon there, maybe I just want to go swimming and not be stuck in the shallow end of the pool, I’ll need to know how to swim good for that. I’ll be accepting applications for swim instructors until Dec. 26. Thanks