This morning I opened my fridge to see what I could make for breakfast and was saddened by the sight of a pickle jar, applesauce, some old sour cream and two heals of bread. Thankfully for the box of farina in the pantry we were able to have some applesauce cream of wheat with extra cinnamon. Lunch was looking pretty bleak though. I managed to find the last slice of cheese, slap it between the bread heals, burn it in my iron skillet, and cut in half for Paul and I to share. It would have to do until dinner. A few small potatoes were sitting in a purple basket under the table waiting to become a side dish to some chicken I'd been saving all week for Sunday dinner. Once those two foods were devoured we'd have to make due with cream of wheat until my shopping trip Monday afternoon. I was feeling very heavy wishing I could make something more for Paul.
But there was only so much time I had to wallow in my situation. 12:45 rolled around and it was time to leave for church. With my four inch heals I stepped out of our apartment and carefully took the stairs one at a time. Paul escorted me to the car and opened my door as I attempted to fall into my seat as gracefully as one can in a knee length skirt. He then proceeded to walk around to the drivers side when a man from the ward pulled up and invited us to dinner. Paul accepted and jumped in the car.
When we got home from church I laid down on the bed to rest. I was starting to feel a bit nauseous. With Paul unemployed and trying to squeeze by on my income I deemed the lack of food to be a sign of my poor providing skills. I began to cry silently-- pity party for one. I knew tomorrow was the day I would go defer my semester of school, and with no foreseeable return I couldn't picture ever being able to more adequately aid Paul in getting through his educational pursuits without suffering from malnutrition. My sweet husband came in to check on me and when he saw the pitiful sobbing heap I was he looked worried. Laying down beside me he talked to me till I was a bit calmer. I didn't want to look like I had been crying at dinner with the neighbors.
The Pierre's had lasagna for dinner. Two enormous pans of it-- and Brother Pierre wouldn't let us leave till we had each three plates full. My stomach was stretched to maximun capacity, and I wondered when the last time I had felt like that had been. I looked over at Paul who had also put away an impressive amount of food. I felt like the Pierre's were an answer to a prayer for food I hadn't even offered yet.
The small apartment was full of loud laughs and cheerful smiles as Haitian humor was thrown back and forth. Everyone was so carefree and laid back that I wondered if my life would ever be like that. But it was when an entire box of unpopped popcorn was spilled on the floor (and event that would put me into grumpy cleaning fit) laughter once again erupted and a few adults teamed up to gather the evasive kernels. I realized at that moment that it was not a lack of trials that made that household as happy as they were. I have no doubts that family has born much heavier crosses than that of spilled popcorn. But I'm sure the attitude they exibited last night-- that wonderful carefreeness-- has been a blessing when the heavyness of life has been upon them.
Much of the sorrow I've been feeling, as much as I hate to amdit it, has largely been a choice. I don't have to dwell on the aspects of my life that are challenging me. I can choose to just laugh, smile, and be happy because, all in all, I have a great life. Thank you Pierre's for a tremendous night!