Good (but not Easy)


Made another big batch of granola this week, and it's one of the things that gets me up in the morning.  At least one decision is already made.  This batch has hazelnuts, cashews, figs, cranberries, and cherries.  Eaten with yogurt and lots of tropical fruit--kiwi, Korean melon, mango--thank you, universe.

It's good my day started out this way, because it was a hard one.  No suffering with a capital "S," but it was still hard.  Thank you, reader Momosis, for pointing out that we can still have hard days even though our problems are not ones of survival. Loretta woke up at 5:00 and wouldn't go back to sleep or play on her own. She just stood at the head of my bed and screamed her head off till I finally got up at 6:00.  I'm sure I could have handled it more creatively, but my creativity well was totally dry. Why can't I transfer some of my Korean spa zen to situations like this morning?  Why is there such a giant wall between them?  Why is re-entry so hard?

At 4:45 this afternoon (not that I was counting minutes until dinner), I was walking back from the park with 4 kids.  Wyatt and Oscar were riding bikes and didn't need anything from me (thank God), but I was pushing a double stroller with two toddlers (Loretta screaming because she wanted to ride her trike) while carrying two trikes and sneezing uncontrollably with seasonal allergies.  I don't know how I did it. But I did, it's over, and Loretta still wanted to snuggle with me tonight.  Isn't she sick of me?!  I guess not, and that's one of the miracles.

Yesterday, in my kitchen without kids, I listened to a Speaking of Faith podcast with Rachel Naomi Remen who's written the books Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings. She's a physician who's spent her life listening to stories of people with terminal illnesses and the pain of the doctors who treat them.  I highly recommend both books (with a box of Kleenex).  She herself has lived with a debilitating illness her whole life.  So, with great insight and credibility, she says, "It's possible to live a good life even though it's not an easy life.  That's the best-kept secret in America."

I could chew on this for a long time.  Somewhere along the line, lots of Americans began to believe that a good life means an easy one.  And because so many of our lives aren't easy, we think something's wrong with us--we must have made a bad choice along the way.  Or God is mad at us.  Or if only we could get that dream job or dream car, our lives would finally be easy.  It's the dying and suffering folks "on the edge of life, " as Dr. Remen says, who teach us otherwise.  They teach us that the cracks are what let the light in--our suffering (or impatience, allergies, and extreme sleep deprivation) may not be easy, but goodness exists right alongside, just waiting for us to throw the doors open and see it.

How's that for a meditation on granola?  And a way to avoid an actual recipe?  Wherever you are--trudging uphill with trikes, fretting over your checkbook, folding laundry, cooking or sleeping--may you sense and know the goodness waiting in the wings.