Cooking with Figs

I think often of that Sylvia Plath bit.

About making choices and those damn figs. You know the one.
Well, I sit here in this space, again.

Not due to choices or regret — but the weight of knowing which figs are nearing their fall and the ones that have yet to bloom.

When I am sad — with the things I have in front of me — I think about how lucky I am to have cooking. I suppose I have writing too. But let me know tell you about this thing that I have.

The first thing that brought me back when the Earth cracked beneath me was chopping onions for a dish I’d be serving later that evening.

You see, food is reliable in my eyes. I know that I can add another egg to make something fluffier. I know I can leave a steak in a hot pan to get that crust I love so much or reduce a stock to make a sauce.

I know butter makes mostly everything taste better.

I know that I can dissolve into a recipe like the salt itself.

And I know that when I set it on the table in front of someone, it is generally good.

When I feel my raw self, cooking brings me back. And God do I put so much into it.

fig

Attraction is funny. And moving from there is tricky. People are tricky and mysterious and flaky  And I am one of them. Though I am not good at being mysterious these days. I will say that I am guilty of trying to be too cool. I think it’s called being single, though I’m not sure.

In my head, I just say, “F*ck this, F*ck this — just cook and mop and be a good chef, dude” and move on.

I am just soft enough though to know that I will still put so much trust and hope in people. I will still allow myself and others grace. I will still work so hard at communicating in a way that I hope comes off as helpful, rather than making things more difficult to navigate (than they already are.)

Relationships with people, in my specific circumstance, are tricky. I am just all sorts of  vulnerable by nature and at times can just be plain awful to myself. I feel awful for making people feel awful.

So, I’ll go home and cook.

I will fill my cup with forgiveness because again, I have no idea what I’m doing.

I will throw another tablespoon of butter in the pan because it needs it. Hell, I need it.

Cooking, regardless of the many things I’ve messed up, always brings me back to myself and that I truly love it. Creating. Consuming.

And having it consume me. 

To be honest, that’s how I’ve always looked at cooking. I let it consume me. Sometimes beat me down to a pulp. Sometimes eat something so good I wish I had someone across from me to share it with. I have wept more times at a stove then I care to admit.

Not so much from over-salting the eggs, but because somehow I still have a way to care for myself and others. That makes me feel very lucky.

Relationships are just plain tough. Nitty gritty hurtful stuff. Also full of love and pleasure and sustenance. I am full of all these things.

The figs.

Well, some have fallen and rotted away. Others are getting ripe and some have yet to bud — but I am okay in this space, right now. Because deep in the belly of the tree I do love myself and can feel okay when things are a bit wonky.

I know that when I wake up the next morning, it is a bit holy for me. Like maybe something got washed away in the great depth.
That, I am thankful for.

And for you. And you. And you.

And for my pots and pans and heat and pressure and time.

I am always thankful for you.

 

lessons in enough

I am so hungry.
(And I have been for quite some time.)

Sort of itch-like — that I can’t scratch,
but my belly is growling and howling and
it feels very wild-like.

I see this person and they’re hungry too.
(And have been for quite some time.)

Ferociously moaning for something that will stick
to their bones; or belly; or thighs

It’s okay, ya know.
To be hungry. To know you have a fire there
that needs tending to. Hot, stingy fire stuff.
Some rage. Some longing. Some small relief.

I know hunger well enough.
I know an empty cabinet.
A few bones picked clean,
though they’re not all used up just yet.

Cover em’ with water and let em’ release,

More. There’s always more to give.
Bones know. Perhaps we know too.

And I sit here with the knowledge
that I might be hungry for a while.
I get to taste from time to time,
but I am not satisfied.

Hardly am I satisfied these days.
It’s a damn shame,
this wanting more.

Perhaps lessons in enough.
That’s what I’ll be cooking up soon.
Enough.
Because I am full enough

To be honest
and fair and kind
Pangs of anger and misunderstanding are
also there, rattling around with the
kind things.

And I hope that when the time comes,
they all get along. Because they are
my insides and they are full of bliss and rage!

Tonight, though. I’m cooking and eating.

For a small moment though,
it is enough.

Chicken Bones 2

 

pressure

Man, do I feel it.

I’m sure this comes with the gig of getting older and making bigger decisions. Small moves that put you on bigger trajectories.

But I am telling a story that everyone knows. It’s hard getting more responsibility. The weight, mixed with expectations and unpredictable reality.

You are truly not in control.

This doesn’t mean you can’t find balance. This is where I’m at. In my world, as a cook, it is all about balance.

Not just with food, but with people. It is give and take. Some days, as in this past week, it is a lot of take. Taking what people want and what they give you, instead of what we have. We absorb their needs because it’s our jobs, but I am a stubborn sunuva-gun — and I tell everyone that.

My job isn’t only to cook — but trying my best to control the endless variables of a restaurant. Those of you who’ve worked in restaurants know how big of a machine it really is. And until you know the pressure of being at the top of this machine, there is no adequate way to describe its motion.

I am at a crossroads of trying to figure out what is more important — keeping a restaurant busy or pushing the ball forward. When chefs get itchy to create, they are forced to make that decision on whether or not to change something people love and buy, for the sake of their own pride.

Perhaps I won’t have to choose on this one. Do you give people what they want and expect? Or do you nudge them, bit by bit?

We are a sandwich shop. We’re not doing anything new or innovative. But we try to do them well and it shows, I think. I work hard at keeping my finger down on the kind of quality we can deliver. Then, I go home and watch videos of Daniel Bolud or David Chang or Francis Mallmann and get all panicky that I am not where I should be. In fact, I know that.

So I push forward. I push myself in effort to push others. Being in the state of Mississippi, my boundaries seem endless. It is not a food city, but there are people here who love to eat and love to be challenged.

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Deep in my belly is a fire to move forward, always. With food or emotions or with people — that is what I wake up to do. Be better. Move forward. And to humbly and most likely stubbornly accept the fact that I am so obscenely tiny in this world that it isn’t quite about me.

I want more. Always, from myself and often others. But I cannot control anyone or make them believe something they aren’t interested in. I refuse to have that sort of power — but I think I can show them how it makes me feel and how important it is to me, and I can move with that.

I am far away from being a great chef. I am a pretty good cook who is lucky and learned from watching some really hard working people. I move with that in hopes that I can make even the slightest dent into what I want to accomplish here.

Even if that means one grilled cheese at a time.

green hope.

People are right.

It didn’t feel like Christmas, for the most part.
Then again, a Christmas hasn’t felt like it did when I was a kid since, well, when I was a kid.

But isn’t that the point?

What I want to grab people by the shoulders and say, “This isn’t about you, anymore!”

Let me expand a bit.

It was, to be fair, 80 degrees on Christmas Day where I live. Not exactly close to being a White Christmas, not that I’ve ever had one. Don’t get me wrong. I get it. I get the season and joy and cheer.

I spent most of it catering to other people’s parties and emptying garbages in the dumpster at 1am. That is my new festive holiday cheer. Hustling. Working. Feeding people and cleaning up after them. Decembers are now a blur to me. They are so busy with parties and travel and catching up, we all get a little twinge in our stomachs after Thanksgiving. At least I do.

Maybe I’m part of the problem. Maybe I’m the Scrooge and my bah-humbugs come a little quieter — maybe with some passive aggression and disdain towards eggnog.

I think that maybe I have lost chasing that feeling. I don’t think a tree would help, or if I was in another industry. Christmas is changing not just for me, but for everyone.

So what do we do?

More so, what do I do? Where do I start?

six seedlings growing from soil

six seedlings growing from soil

2015 has been one of the biggest years of my life. Which is actually very, very tiny, considering we are a pale blue dot falling endlessly in some galaxy and in some form of space time. In that sense, I am barely atomic.

But I have a little breath and a big heart and am at times angry with little things and often kind and have a lot going on in my head, always.
This year has been a little about rage. Not that I’ve been jumping up and down on top of cars, but of survival and moving forward. It’s knowing that if you don’t care, then your business is going to fail. It’s knowing you are now responsible not only to people, but to a place and its people and its future.

I’ve been taking and taking my young adult life. Learning and figuring out what the hell I wanted to do. Right? Yes. Many of us got that luxury of learning and exploring. Reading Donald Miller or Mere Christianity for the sixth time and talking about God for hours and why this world is so damn difficult. Those were some sweet, luxurious times.

Now, though, we have to start giving back. And I’m not talking about two weeks on a mission trip — I’m talking about loving people fiercely and selflessly and investing your heart into a place and its people.

We aren’t super great at that. I’m not super great at that. But this is the shift that’s happening in my heart.

Let the kids have Christmas. Give them good memories and cherish deeply your own, but it’s not about you anymore. It’s about the little, more innocent people. It always has been because they’ve always been our best hope.

I think about that book “The Giver” and what it would be like on both ends. I do believe our responsibility is to remind our world of its history — of how we fight and kill but also thrive and move forward. A world void any of this would surely bring us to our knees begging to choose to feel again.

It is incredible and it is so absolutely painful at times.

I guess I’m adulting. I’m working to make some changes as I do so, and as we all must do when becoming older. Maybe I’m still naive to say such things, but we gotta a lot of life left. You have so much power in you, and if I knew you personally I would tell you that all the time.

I would tell about all the power you have to do the hard things and come out on the other side and to talk about how being married is really rough sometimes and how having kids puts so many stresses on everything. Everything. Everything requires loads of attention and it is impossible to control everything at the same time.

That is grace and effervescence — the stuff that lifts and refreshes.

You are allowed to think deep about your dark places where maybe only you and another walk, and maybe walk alone. I have been in those places and have lost the people I’ve walked with — but you find others there, too.

That is the best thing to know. People are hitchhikers in this wonky way, you pick them up and they do the same to you — and sometimes you step back and say, “How did I do this without you?”

Though I’ve drifted away from the Christmas theme, I’ve ended up where I’ve wanted in writing this final post for 2015.

Thank God for people.
And thank you for the graces they give and that we give.

Let’s keep it up. And let’s give our new hopes some good things; let’s give them the best of us and show them mercy when they see our worst.

After all, Love is a great Green Hope.

 

cheers!

I stood in a kitchen where only a year and a half ago I was serving nachos and opening beer bottles for a bunch of well-off business people in town.

It was where I met some of the crew I would be working with for the following year. I didn’t know anyone, but I knew how to cook and I knew how to open beer bottles.

I needed the cash, so the chef of the event called me up and said they could use me and would pay me at the end of the night. It was my first job back in Mississippi. I was stationed outside in 90% humidity and was drenched by the first hour. The girl I was working next to sliced her hand open on an attempt to open a stubborn beer bottle.

She gasped and bent over. Blood was dripping from her hand as she whispered to me, “I’ve gotta go…” and off she went to the E.R. for stitches. Even after that, the ‘bros’ waiting for their beer were still adamant on that bottle. So, I smiled and said cheers.

Fast forward to now, standing in that same kitchen as a head chef of a breakfast and lunch spot, and also a catering program with a crew that is equal parts hard working and kind and generous. Granted we have our scuffles like all kitchens do, but it is intense, back-breaking labor. Don’t ever get stuck in this trade unless you love it, or it will eat you alive.

I sit here now, in the sunken part of my bed after a nearly 100hr work week of Christmas parties and drop-offs and busy cafe days. My belly is full of hash browns, poached eggs and coffee.

I kinda felt like crying when it was done. I cook all of our catering food from scratch. Bechamel, marinara, ragu. I break down enough chickens for 150 people and cram their bones full of crushed garlic and thyme.

I intentionally put stress on my clock so the meat isn’t sitting around all day. It’s all about timing and pressure. So much pressure. Imagine waking up knowing that 200 people have to eat in eight hours and you have to cook it all. It’s a lot of f!@#$!@ pressure.

Also it’s a lot of dirty dishes. (And I do those, too.)

So yeah, I am relieved today. Happy, for the most part. Tired and my hands are torn to pieces from tossing around sharp chicken bones and the inside of my arms are burnt from reaching in the oven and being tired and careless.

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I am proud.

Of my crew, and all their hard work and sacrifice. Missing their own Christmas parties and traditions to help uphold others. They are servants at heart and they are the reason these things work. It’s funny, and I think we all sort of think that we wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for the other person.

And that’s how this stuff works. Accountability and respect. Getting paid fairly doesn’t hurt either, and when it comes to wealthy southerners, we don’t mind putting in a little extra.

With all that being said, I am filled to the brim with thanks.

I am thankful for this quiet space I have today. Not many people get that luxury.

I’m thinking about a lot of people and a lot of things…and if where I am now is a testament in how to treat others and move forward, then I can only imagine where we’ll be next year.

Until then,

cheers!

twenty-something

Well. I turn 30 this week.

The writer part of me wants to search deeply for some metaphor and marrow.
The cook side of me hopes people will buy me a drink or two and maybe feed me something good — something that I don’t have to cook myself.

How do you sum up your twenties?

Well. You don’t really.
But I’d like to say something here, at least.

If our younger years are as formative as they say, then this decade has been about lessons.
Lessons on humanity and grace. Humility and power. Love and divorce.

It has been about justice and injustice. Spending moments with the poor. Seeing the faces of women who sell their bodies to feed their children; who work off a debt they had no say in.

With that, sprang some sort of well, deep in my heart. An overly-sensitive southern boy living in a world that is bright and loud and sometimes very violent.

Time rounds off the edges like sand blowing against a sharp rock over them years. Some softness gets added. Softness is like learning and understanding that you’re going to keep making mistakes and learning your whole life.

Softness is going easy on one’s self.

Cheeseburgers add to my softness.

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I learned how to be fierce, too. In the kitchen. I found so much in the kitchen. I found a heartbeat, a thicker skin, and something that drives and feels like some engine rumbling in my belly. It gives me confidence and passion. It gives me my own forms of justice and grace and I keep getting to learn what works.

The kitchen saved me from a lot of self-damage, and has given me a life I never thought I’d be able to stomach. But somehow, some way, this sensitive and quiet dude found a life and love for it. Regardless of which way my life turns, I am thankful the kitchen has been a part of it.

There is much growth in your twenties. You are still a baby, really. And then adult stuff hits you hard. Like money and rent and love. Sometimes you get married and you might have a baby or two or three.

Sometimes it works for you.
Sometimes it doesn’t.
And sometimes you’re in between all of that.

Sometimes you want to crawl underneath your bed with all those socks you’ve been missing and stay there until the noise dies down.

Fortunately for humans, we move. And we move forward.

Perhaps the biggest lesson in the past decade of my life is that we aren’t going to feel heartbroken forever.

We are going to be sad. We are going to hurt and see painful things that will change us.
But we also get to move around and squirm and sometimes settle. Like finding that sweet spot at night before you go to bed.

There were times I wish I would have dipped my toes into the sea. Or climbed higher or pushed myself to walk just a little bit further. I think we all feel that way sometimes. At least that’s what I’m learning.

And I’m learning that kindness is a gift. Something for yourself and others.

I learned that maybe the planet with those beautiful rings around it pulled me closer and allowed me to see myself and my life at a different angle. I know it might be silly to think of the planets like that, but I think there was some gravity there — it coming around to me being as close as it was when I came into the world all hot and red and pissed. It pulled the water in my body upwards and out — allowing me to open my heart to this wild and gracious time.

So yes — lessons and learning.

And I’ve cooked so much food and have fed so many people. I am so damn thankful I get to do something I really enjoy, for at least this time in my life — it works. And it might not some day. So, I’m going to live in this and work hard to make things better.

I joke that I have been 30’ish for about 6 years and it’s probably true. I am an old soul, some say. I am not afraid of getting older, only I do like to think about the time that has passed. I like to know what has helped me and what has hurt me. It takes us a while to learn, but we get there.

And I am getting there.

Slowly.

Stubbornly.

Shyly.

Quietly.

Fiercely.

 

Sincerely,

Josh, thirty-something

 

change

I’m not going to act like everything is okay.

There’s a lot to this time of year. People want cheer and peace and giving. And while there will be a lot of that, there is also a lot of fear. I suppose, if you grew up in a Christian faith as I did, the season is what it is due to a family fleeing for safety. There’s a lot of fear in fleeing.

Not just that, there’s just a lot going on, right? I think I feel people collectively tense up around mid-November and they don’t stop until Mid-January — the heavy realization that you just made a resolution you’re not going to keep.

I like the idea of going easy on yourself. Again. And again.

It takes a while to change. If that’s what you want from  yourself. Physically, emotionally, etc. Then again, if you like who you are, then perhaps you’re going to be just fine.

Only I’m not. I’m not okay. I’m not okay with the way things are and neither are you, I suppose.

I’ve never felt like I’ve wanted to be more ignorant in my life. I realize that sounds harsh. But there are a lot of people saying a lot of things out there and I’m one of them. I also think I’d be okay if I never saw another news feed or flash about guns and refugees and politicians. It’s a hard thing. These are things that are triggering our nasty parts. The parts we disagree with our parents and friends on — this is the hard part of change, big world.

chinese_lanterns

You’re going to disagree. And I’m even past the point of “Hey, as long as we disagree well, right!” — like that ever really works. It’s never worked in my head. I still think the other person is acting like an asshole and they think the same about me.

So I guess the point of me writing all this is to challenge you and to also challenge myself. You’re going to be around a lot of different people this time of  year who happen to be relatives. Y’all will be coming in from different places — life places — philosophical places and something will probably be said.

I’d like to say, that if you can, be good. But also, be honest if you don’t understand. I’m pretty sure we all love one another, but that doesn’t mean we have to tip toe around each other. It is important, like St. Francis said, to understand, rather than be understood. I think that’s helpful.

Even if I don’t agree, I’d at least like to understand why you feel a certain way. I think that’s for real. And I think that’s sort of when change happens. You take a little bit of the other side with you. You are still you and believe who you are, but you also take some other stuff with you, to think and chew on.

I will walk in this season with a lot. I would hope that I’d bring some peace with me, even as outspoken as I can be at times. I want us to be better, because the world is changing and moaning and we can hear her louder than ever.

Feel what you need to this season. Whether that’s pain or joy, regret or gratitude, because it’s real and it’s you and we need you to keep going with us. To keep running and to keep us running when we can’t.

I am thankful for other people. Regardless of how they wound others and how we wound them. Carry around some peace this season, maybe some patience, too. For me. As I try to understand things as you see them, too.

Happy Thanksgiving — eat and love and listen well

 

mosaic.

Mr. Roger’s always said to look for the helpers.

I was a Mr. Roger’s kid. Maybe it was his kindness — his softness.

I can say now, as an adult, I value those words even more. Yet again we are left with a bunch of painful stuff. As Anne Lamott would say, “we gather bits of broken mosaic” — and that together it makes something altogether different.

This is a mosaic kinda place. So many times, broken into millions of pieces and put back together again. Maybe a few more awkward pieces to fit in — but it works, again and again.

I’ve been bursting at the seams to write this week. I’ve gotten to see so many faces and have been so many places. I again step into old worlds where I used to feel so desperate and clingy — to a place of great hope — and back again to my home where I get to gather up them pieces.

We have a hard time touching pain. “Show me where it hurts?” No. I don’t really want to, because you’re going to want to see it, maybe touch it, maybe tell me what to do with it. Sometimes you should. Other times, you just need to sit in it. Sometimes you need dig yourself out so that the sun shines on your face again.

This is where we all come in — this part right here.

Reaching our hands and arms in to that darkness; struggling with; hurting with.

Ultimately loving, but it takes us a while to understand intentions. It’s not that easy to be with someone or something that hurts. It takes our own skin and heart and bone. Do we really want to drag ourselves into it?

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Lately people have been asking how I’ve been doing. Words like great, good and ‘not bad at all’ come to mind. I am so lucky, first and foremost to have those words fresh on my tongue. Because truly, I’m doing well, to my knowledge.

And this is my season. There were my times where I broke down a lot. Questioned some deep and spooky parts on my soul and I still see them, from time to time. I still see some darkness. It is always there. Like I’ve written before, I am not strong enough to keep it at bay. Instead I’ve made it a point to embrace it like that old friend. It sits with me and we will devour pain and sadness together.

Joy arrives abundantly. Swiftly. Like the way a walk-in feels after a hot rush.

That is how it works. This is how I move. Which I do, quite often, from place to place.

I don’t know how people handle a situation as terrifying as that. With weapons and that kind of hate mixed with that kind of violence. A deep, deep wound by wounded peoples all over the place.

It should be noted that I am writing from comfort.
I can hear my heaters hum and I am sipping on hot coffee.
But I can say that two hours ago I was doing this on and off again teary/snot-coming-out-everywhere thing.
Thinking about my grandparents.
The places in the world that are picking up pieces.
Remembering all of the things.
Feeling all the feels.

The pieces you help pick up are part of that bigger thing, ya know?
So we need you keep picking them up. And I will too. Okay?

It’s never finished and nothing ever has the final say. Thank God for that.

And thank you for being there for other people and baking them casseroles or listening to music with them or scratching their backs. You are healers and all angel-like.

We see you,
and with that deep and still place,

I want to say thank you.

knots.

Love is a great tangling thing.

Like a puppet getting caught in its own strings; knots and things.

It’s also really frustrating, when you struggle to straighten them out. Hours, fumbling with your fingers, figuring out which goes and where. It’s easy to give up, too.

I think that’s what things feel like to me right now. I’d like to think it is easy to hold loosely, as much as I say I do, but I do not. In fact I hold on to mostly everything. Sure, some looser than others, but I still hold them. I feel like there are people I think about every day — like a checklist. I think about them and they bring me back to myself. Who I was to them, how they made me feel.

It’s all knotted up there.

The tighter I pull, the harder it gets.

The same goes for place.
There’s a line from a song that goes, “Every place I go, I take another place with me.”

This is my longing. To belong. To remember. The feeling of a place and of a person.
We change though, and I am so thankful for change. I am content to gain people, while l also lose some in the process. That’s just how my brain works and what my heart can handle. I can only process a few at a time. I know myself well enough to see when I am being superficial. That to me, feels unkind and un-me-like.

But alas, I am tangled in a world of knots.

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I am unsure how one moves through this world without the occasional snag — sometimes that involves breaking down into a million pieces and sometimes that looks like eating ice cream cones in a coastal town, somewhere.

Untangling takes time, and I am not a great untangler. I don’t think that’s a word. At least it’s underlined in red, so I know it’s not a word, but I don’t care today. I’m not a great untangler.

Like my fishing pole when I reel and feel it stop with plenty of line left. I get antsy and angry. I wanna throw it down. Sometimes I just cut it loose. But as we all know, you can’t always cut it loose. Sometimes you have to work to keep from losing it. Especially if it’s something worth holding on to.

I’m always taking stock of my people. Some days I feel like I’m losing, and some days I feel really strong. I am working hard at maintaining a peace of mind.

I hold on to them knots like heirlooms. I remember why they feel as they do and there is strength in all of it. Perhaps some sense of loss, but they’re all still there. Because though I hold loosely, I still remember and I still make room to lose things I love.

That is hard hard hard.

But that is it, isn’t it.
And you live with it,

those knots and things.

rock slide

I live my life in a lot of forgiveness.
I suppose we all do.

And there’s so much that I want to say about that. I don’t quite know if all the words are in me now, but maybe someday, I will tell you what it feels like.

There is a point where one is responsible for their actions and thoughts. They are responsible for themselves, in that way. I know there is a difference in being responsible to and for. Generally, you are responsible to others for various reasons. A teacher. A parent. A friend. A caretaker. This is your job as a human being. You are responsible to the human race and probably animals like cats and dogs, if they’re your pets. Maybe a little pig, if you’re lucky.

But, you are responsible for yourself.

I can’t blame why I do what I do on my parents or their parents. I can’t blame it on the media or my neighbor. I am responsible for me. That’s a lot of pressure as a human, yeah?

I think this might be why we break into millions of pieces, sometimes. It is hard when the two get jumbled up and we are left with a gaping hole in the earth below us.

What I mean to say, and what feels heavy right now, is that there is a lot that hurts right now. Mostly inside me. I can’t say what I want to say because I know people will argue and “respectfully” disagree. The fact that there aren’t many good answers in dealing with hard social issues is problematic for me.

Like how I’m afraid of guns — not because I don’t know how to use them, but what I might do with a gun. And I’m afraid of what you might do with a gun even if you were raised with them and hunt with them and you are happy with your life.

That’s why I don’t own a gun. That is why my views on gun control are so conflicted, because I know so many great, wonderful people who have them and don’t seem like a threat.

And like you, I have every reason to have something completely random and messed up happen. I think what burdens me is how scared people are. There are so many reasons. Where you grow up. What you grow up in. The messes we find ourselves in. Even the privilege of being raised in a place where I hardly ever saw crime. That is my backpack, though. It is very light. Maybe, ten years from now when and if my situation changes where I feel having a gun keeps me, and helps me feel safe, I will change.

It is not now.

rock-slide

Changing is so radically important. It is so hard. Having a person change their mind is a revolution in itself. Perhaps enough to pull a gun away from someone’s direction. Or those who hold on to this Southern flag for reasons of racial pride and “heritage” without really feeling the depth of what it looks like to the other fifty percent of the population. If what you are doing is hurting another person, think about it.

Even as I think about the people who make my clothes and grow my food,

Which is why I am here to say that I am glad to live in forgiveness.

I’ve been able to move through my life, thus far, relatively lightly.

Overly-senstive. Quiet. Unassuming. But hopefully kind and thoughtful in between. This doesn’t go without my kitchen persona in the heat of a moment where I might snap at you for complaining too much or slamming pots and pans.

Another reason for forgiveness-stuff.

Moving was really hard. Losing my best friend and partner was excruciating. Losing anything is hard. But in those moments, so many things change. I lost some things I needed to lose. Some of my beliefs were challenged and it settled a bit. Sort of like a pile of rocks sliding, and adjusting to their new position for another twenty years. Until the earth moves and they tumble again.

That is what it feels like to change.

So I won’t stay quite settled. My reality is often shifting like loose sand.

I know myself enough to understand that now, I am responsible. For bills and being a good person and moving along in my part of the world, hoping to leave it better than I found it. For me, that looks like questioning things that hurt people a lot. I realize fixing this problem isn’t a reality, but I can cover it in some grace in hopes that more of it works its way on down, into the cracks of the icky things we hurt for.

Forgiveness-stuff.

That is what change is all about.