Rice

I have a confession to make. Almost all of my adult life I have been unable to successfully cook a batch of rice. I’ve tried many methods. It always turns out like paste.

As an Asian American I defy stereotypes. I am less than fantastic at math and I cannot cook rice if my life depended on it.

It seemed to me like magic. Rice, water, salt and heat. Wait 20 minutes, remove the lid and inside fluffy white starchy perfection awaited you.

Imagine my disappointment when each and every time I unveiled unappetizing grey glue.

Then I read an article by Meghan Cameron of the Food Network extolling the virtues of cooking rice like pasta. I haven’t tried it yet but I feel the tingling anticipation of optimism where before only dread existed when I thought of cooking rice.

It’s non-traditional. Purists would be groaning but it’s thinking outside the box. And I like unique solutions to unsolvable problems.

So often in our lives we dismiss a suggestion out of hand because of fear.  Fear will cause you to maintain the status quo, indefinitely.  And while my inability to cook rice isn’t the end of the world, it is a challenge, albeit a small one.  Sometimes tackling small challenges are life’s way of showing you success so you can graduate to larger ones.

I’ll keep you posted.

The little things that aren’t so little

A dear friend of mine is in the final stages of losing her husband. She is handling the situation with grace and openness.  I am so proud of her.  It reminds me of several things.  First, a quote by CS Lewis:

“Bereavement is not the truncation of married love, but one of its regular phases—like the honeymoon. What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too.”  C.S. Lewis

CS Lewis, reminds us of something important.  Often we think of the death of a spouse or loved one as the end of our relationship with them.  He reminds us that it’s just the transition to another chapter in our relationship with them.  While their physical body may be gone their spirit remains.

Oprah spoke on this when her friend Maya Angelou passed.

“…now that she’s gone, I think I value and love her even more. Without the density of her body, I can better feel the intensity of her spirit.” Oprah Winfrrey

Openness is the key to unlocking the blessings of bereavement.  Often we resist feeling sadness.  Preferring numbness to grief.  But the sadness we feel is what stands witness to the love we felt when those we loved are gone.  And while we feel grief, we should also remember to be open to continuing to receive the love they felt for us.  It echoes in our memories we have of them and in the memories others have as well.

Second, more personally, it reminds me of an unexpected blessing our family received when my grandfather passed.  Often in the haze and fog of the wake and funeral preparations some very basic necessities get lost.  Our neighbor without asking left a fully prepared meal in our home while we were all attending the funeral.

We came home to a stock pot of homemade spaghetti sauce, pasta, fresh salad and several loaves of Italian bread.   Up until that moment I don’t think any of us had even thought about dinner.

Her thoughtfulness resonates still, not only in the warmth I feel, even now, remembering her kindness. But also as a teaching moment, as I think of how I’d like to support my friend during her time of sadness.

We don’t know how our actions impact others.  I try to keep this in my heart and mind as I travel through my days.  Kindness, openness, thoughtfulness.  They should be a litany, a prayer, whose physical evidence is in every interaction we have with others.


Notes:

Winfrey, Oprah.  What I Know For Sure.  O Magazine.  Oprah Remembers Dr. Angelou