I read a wonderful essay by Anne Lamott yesterday morning on Facebook. She is facing a birthday this month, and as we all do, she is questioning how it is possible that she has reached an advanced age so soon. In her case, it is only 68, but I’m sure that feels old to her. And seeing what horrible stuff is happening in the world, she wonders if she, in all good conscience, has the audacity of being happy. She concludes that we have almost an obligation to find joy in the wounded world we live in. If the flutter of a butterfly’s wing in Black Mountain can change the weather in Japan, then by feeling happiness we can bring light to the devastation in the world.
Feeling joy in a world plagued by ugliness has always been one of my goals. I believe that it’s a question of where you put your attention. We are distracted by the awful things going on around us: war crimes in Ukraine, the melting of the polar icecaps, intensifying storms and wildly fluctuating weather, and of course, partisan politics. It’s hard not to focus attention on these huge problems, but with a bit of effort, we can pay attention to the small kindnesses people do for one another, the beautiful spring weather (for this minute at least), my grand baby’s giggle, and the confirmation of Katanji Brown Jackson. For me also, is my third wedding anniversary to Ron Davis, which I would certainly have forgotten if not for a reminder by Julie Bresnan!
One of the things that brings me tremendous joy is cooking. I express love with food! When I get home from work in the evening, I pour a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (another source of joy) and immediately set to work preparing dinner, even if it’s just for Ron and me. I feel centered and relaxed as I think about which herbs and spices would work best with whichever dish I am fixing. Tonight I am making Tandoori Chicken and rice and we are entertaining my friend Elizabeth who just returned from what she had hoped would be a great trip to Morocco. Apparently, things did not go well there. Her husband John caught Covid at the beginning of the second week and they isolated in a hotel in Marrakech. She was negative so she had to leave him there until he would test negative. I’ll get the whole story tonight and hope that we can make her feel happy for at least the duration of the meal.
Speaking of food and happiness, lately I have had to completely change my diet because of a flare up of gut problems. Because of the pain, I had to adopt the Fodmap diet, which restricts me from eating gluten, dairy, garlic, onions, much fruit and many vegetables. At first I was lost, as my favorite dish is spaghetti with tomatoes, cheese and lots of garlic. But on the bright side, I can still drink coffee and wine. I am supposed to limit these, but who’s to say what is too much? And I run on coffee. And now I am inspired to use other herbs to flavor food, to create new sauces that don’t focus on tomato, and to use Tinkyata Brown Rice Pasta, which is really not bad! The bright side is that I feel much better, am not gassy, and am being more creative in the kitchen. Joy!