Sunday, March 17, 2013

Heartbreak vs. Rage

The enormity of the hurt surpasses even my extraordinary expository skills.

That's really all I can say about what it feels like when someone who was part of your life for ten years suddenly isn't.

There are no easy answers to any of the questions.  In reality, there are likely no answers at all.  Someone who was there, now is not.

It starts with a dull ache at the back of the throat.  From there, it moves into one of two directions:  heartbreak or rage.

Rage is comfortable.  It allows me to put it outside of myself as I thirstily drink in a desire for vengeance.

Rage disgusts me as thoughts of revenge come to mind, and I shudder to consider the extent of the hatefulness I carry within me.

Heartbreak is terrifying.  It curls my body around the source of the wound in an effort to stop the flood of pain before it drowns me.

Heartbreak is risky, because it means relinquishing my control over the situation and resting in the moment.  Heartbreak means allowing myself to be carried through the pain while making no effort to steer the journey into darker places.

Rage means the illusion of holding onto my sense of self, while in reality sacrificing everything I love about who I am in the name of protecting of the same.

Heartbreak means trusting that when the ocean of hurt recedes, my essential self, everything I love about who I am, will be intact and potentially stronger.

Rage means trusting in my own undeniably brilliant logic to protect the mystical.

Heartbreak means trusting in Jesus to hold the sacred tenderly.

Rage means finding a cure, quick and easy.

Heartbreak means engaging the present in all of its fullness for the promise of future healing, whether anything is cured or not.

Rage means binding a wound with cloth and piling on spices to mask the stench of death.

Heartbreak means believing in the power of resurrection.

I remember when Tim died I had asked Jesus to resurrect him.

I had to drastically alter my notion of resurrection.  I had to accept that Jesus already had.  I had to accept that, someday, I too would be resurrected from the death I was experiencing.


I open my hands and let go.

I let go of my need for control.

I let go of my need to understand.

I let go of my vengeful thoughts.

I open my hands and ask Jesus to fill them with new things.

I open my hands to receive peace.

I open my hands to receive acceptance.

I open my hands to receive grace.

I open my hands to receive compassion.

I open my hands to receive new eyes to perceive things more clearly.

I open my hands to receive new ears to hear Jesus's tender words of comfort.

I open my hands to receive a new mind focused on the things of God.

I open my hands to receive a new heart, soft and tender.

I open my hands to receive all of the ways Jesus will love, comfort, and sustain me now, in this moment.


Pain gushes out of me and surrounds me like an ocean.  I cling to the only one standing beside me and remember there was a time when blood and water poured from his side when his heart broke as well.

I open my hands, palms turned up.  I see my scars.

Jesus reaches out and clasps my hands.  I see his scars and I know that resurrection is coming.

I choose heartbreak and hope.

Friday, March 15, 2013

There are Worse Things in Life

I have cried myself to sleep every night this week.  Deep, body wrenching, soul crushing sobs.

I now have inflamed sinuses, a cracked and very sore nose, my tears have changed consistency and leak from my eyes with a viscosity more reminiscent of ointment than water.

I've sniffled my through a box of Puffs at work.

A dear friend and I went to Target on Wednesday to visit our barista.  Her name is Jessica.  While she serves all patrons of the Starbucks at Target, we claim her as our own. as I prefer the coffee at our local, non-chain coffee bar, the benefit of Target is that we were able to get some other shopping done.  We wandered through the grocery section, contemplating peanut butter.  I mentioned perusing the nuts in hopes of finding some honey mustard almonds.

We skipped over the nuts and landed in the booze aisle.  I contemplated two bottles of vodka.  That's how I did it last time.  A fifth of vodka in a very short time frame.  I was not successful, and so two fifths seemed like it might increase my chances.

A fleeting thought.

My friend asked if she should not allow me to purchase alcohol.  "I wasn't going to anyhow," I told her truthfully.  "Just....thinking."

The chair looked like this,
minus the ottoman and white
We began to wander to the sporting goods section and got distracted by furniture.  In particular, a child's armchair.  It was about 24 inches high.  Blue.  "What do you think would happen if we bought this, put casters on the legs, and replaced our bosses' boss's chair with it?"  My friend agreed it would be awesome!  Our bosses' boss is about 5' tall.  He's an extraordinary man, but the chair gag was just too funny.  The chair itself was $80.00.  We'll be on the look out for a salvage.
Those are strips of white pleather
We pondered decorative pillows, most too hideous to believe.  No wonder that style is on clearance.  "Nate Berkus needs to go back to design school," I remarked.

We wandered through bedding.  I pondered a sheet set for a twin bed I do not own.

Upon our arrival in the sporting goods section, we found what we, or rather I, was looking for:  basketballs.  I had rather hoped to find a mini ball in the traditional orange.  No such luck.  The mini balls were all odd colors:  green or blue.  They were also $2.00 more than the junior size balls that actually came in the traditional orange.  A junior ball it was to be.

On our way to the registers, we passed the seasonal section:  patio furniture.  A sure sign that spring is on the way. mini grill caught my eye, and I pondered the realities of carbon monoxide, a drafty house, poorly insulated room, unfinished doorways and much beloved dogs and a couple of cats.  Not to mention other people.  Though at that rate the amount of CO produced by the limited quantity of charcoal briquettes that would fit in a grill that size, in a house relatively large for such an application....

A fleeting thought.

The front of the store was beckoning us on, and as we passed electronics, I decided to pick up a phone card, though I wasn't sure why.  Another thick, gelled tear rolled down my left cheek.  I cleared my throat.  To stay in contact with everyone in my contact list.  Right.  Yes.  That makes sense.

Books.  I see a book by an author I enjoy reading, though I am ashamed to admit it.

I could get this book for the same price at Barnes and Noble, and I would get to enjoy the book-buying atmosphere there, an atmosphere which is missing in department stores.

Then it hits me:  I can never go to Barnes and Noble again.  Several tears leak from the corners of my eyes.

It's like the mangoes of 2008-2010 all over again.  During that time, I could not look at a mango without crying uncontrollably.

Recluse.  Shut in.  This is what amazon is for.

Artwork courtesy of Chris Lynch
Sharpie markers.  Black.  For the basketball.  Because Lucille says:  Enjoy March Madness!

There are worse things in life.  I have survived much.

There are worse things in life.  I will survive this.

There are worse things in life.  I get out of bed every morning.

There are worse things in life.  I go to work and do my job.  I socialize.  I delight in the ridiculous.

There are worse things in life.  Perhaps one of these days I'll actually believe it.

A fleeting thought.  Now passed.  I still live.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Risotto with Caramelized Onion, Prosciutto, and Bleu Cheese

Tonight, I went out on a limb and made up my own risotto recipe.  Rather than finding one that looked passable and making it better, I went all out and made it up entirely.  My mother called it "interesting."  I asked if it was "interesting good or interesting strike it from the menu".  It was interesting good.


32 oz vegetable stock
1 3/4 cup arborio
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
6 oz prosciutto, roughly chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons butter
3 oz freshly grated Parmesan
3 oz bleu cheese
Fresh thyme

Heat 1 1/2 T olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add prosciutto and cook until very crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat remaining olive oil and add onions.  Cook until caramelized.

Move onions to the side of the pan and add the butter.  Once the butter is melted, add the arborio and thyme and stir to coat.  Continue stirring for a few minutes, until rice is golden.  Reduce heat to medium/medium-low.

Add white wine and cook, stirring until absorbed.

Add vegetable stock in 4 1-cup installments, continuing to cook and stir until completely absorbed before adding next installment.

Once all of the vegetable stock has been absorbed, turn off heat.  Stir in Parmesan, 1/2 of the prosciutto, and 1/2 the bleu cheese.

Dish up risotto, sprinkling a small amount of remaining prosciutto and bleu cheese over each serving.

Serves 6