But I’m not going to complain. One, because I love to work. I love to be of service. In fact, this is the only way I want to live:
“All difficulties come from not thinking of others. Whatever you are doing, check whether your motive is for yourself or for others.”
—Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (Tibetan Buddhist monk)
And I’m not going to complain, because I love teaching. I adore the bantering, the connection, the unexpected moments of discovery. I love my students and their thousand, ineffable idiosyncracies. I love meeting the new ones and knowing that, in a few months, they will be indelibly implanted on my mind, and I won’t be able to imagine my life without them. I love teaching vocabulary words, reminding them of strong verbs, and gently guiding them into trusting their own minds. Every day of teaching is a constant revelation, a hysterical story, a hairpin turn around a road I thought I knew well already. I’m never, ever bored when I’m teaching.
It’s just meetings I don’t like.
So I welcome the life that starts to unfold tomorrow, because it is my life. I don’t understand the impulse to complain, constantly, because it grows boring, quickly.
Besides, I am so blessed, so undeniably blessed with life. I don’t mean by some higher power, or that I was specially chosen. I mean that I am alive, with a big kitchen in which to make flourless chocolate torte (tomorrow’s post), with a job I love that pays me decently, and with fingers to type these words right now. I am alive.
That is enough.
Today, I turned on the Oprah show and wept for an hour. I’ll admit it—I’m not afraid to look foolish. Watching the news, almost nonstop, this past week, has taught me more than I thought I could learn. And I’ve been filled with righteous indignation. But this woman, on mainstream American television, shoved the truth in the faces of the American people. Say what you want about her, but Oprah has her heart in the right place. And it’s an inflamed heart, pulsing with righteous indignation. As is mine. And it felt good to weep.
And it made me appreciate everything I have, even more. The long moments this morning in the kitchen, making another ten jars of blackberry jam before I turned on the news. The long, meandering trip around Seattle, looking for cured, dried ham for a recipe, and ending up at Pike Place Market on a weekday. Shopping at DeLaurenti’s, and feeling lucky that I had the little spending money I have, and knowing I won’t be splurging on capers and prosciutto again for awhile. Buying a roasting pan at Sur La Table, and deciding that this will be my last major purchase this month, and perhaps longer. Smelling flowers, and taking photos of stargazer lilies, and feeling happier at being awake to the sight of them than I would have been if I had just bought them and put them in a vase. Cooking for friends and watching their faces relax into happiness when they tasted the torte. Once again, and wider this time, knowing that no recipe can daunt me anymore. It’s just a joy to cook.
And knowing, utterly knowing, that being told I can no longer eat gluten was not a punishment. It was a door opening. Without it, I wouldn’t have written all the images I have captured in this blog. I wouldn’t be walking around with a camera, really looking at my food. I wouldn’t be watching light linger on the countertops and dragging food out of the refrigerator to take photographs of it, making the mundane beautiful. I wouldn’t have met all of you who have written to me, in the comments section here and in email. I can’t imagine my life without you, without this blog.
I’m so grateful to have this.
So it’s the last day of summer. Welcome, Autumn.
RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS THIS MONTH
I decided this today. Other than food, the standard bills, and the gas required to move me from home to school and friends’ houses, I’m not spending any money this month. No new movies in the theatre. No jewelry from the enticing store down the street. No new cds or downloads from iTunes. No new books. And even, no new kitchen implements.
Instead, I’m going to enjoy what I have, and feel blessed. And every bit of money I save, what I could have spent on myself and my friends, I’m going to send to Habitat for Humanity. I have a feeling this is going to be an extraordinary month.
I encourage you to do the same.