To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you. ~~~ Lewis B. Smedes
I love a port wine cheese ball. I can’t even fathom a Thanksgiving or a Christmas get-together without a port wine cheese ball being placed somewhere on the serving table. Now, I know this is not exactly elegant or even in good taste — but the port wine cheese ball makes me happy… and why deny ourselves a little happy?
I was at the grocery store recently perusing all the foods that are completely unnecessary because I made the mistake of 1) going to the store hungry, 2) going to the store without a list, and 3) going to the store with the intention of getting a few “special” things. I made my usual long stop in the cheese section and loaded my cart with sharp cheddar and shredded mozzarella and American slices and mini Babybel — and then, as if the seas had parted to show me the way, a plastic tub that read spreadable port wine. Spreadable port wine? In a plastic tub? That I could spread on a cracker and not have to worry about getting all those almonds that usually cover any good cheese ball on my cracker (I hate all those almonds). In the cart it went. I felt utterly satisfied at my find. I could practically savor the goodness of that cheap spreadable port wine cheese in a plastic tub. And here’s where my thoughts jumped from the cheese section of the grocery store and made a flying tackle on my self-deprecation…
Why the hell did I put off buying something that gave me such joy? Why didn’t I just buy the cheap plastic tub of port wine cheese earlier? Well, I think I know why… at least I think I have the beginnings of the “know why”, it came to me right there in the cheese cooler at the store. We get it in our heads that we aren’t good enough for something, that our own happiness has to be put off, that we need a reason to be kind to ourselves. We tend to perseverate on things that have happened and the whys of it all, we beat ourselves up when we should give ourselves a break, we hunker down in our protective covers when we should embrace our lives… ourselves.
It’s the human condition, I suppose — we seem programmed to loathe ourselves… or we aren’t. But, either way, we do… on occasion. We get stuck in a moment and we think we can’t get out of it. We look around for help, for guidance and everyone has walked away — maybe retreating back to their own protective covers. And there, in that moment, that moment in which we think we are stuck and have no way out — we see it… the spreadable port wine cheese in the plastic tub. And we realize… it’s ours if we want it.
I’ve come to the realization, after many ruminations, that thinking we humans (and by humans, I, of course, mean me) don’t deserve certain things in life is more commonplace than not — I don’t know why this feeling lingered for so long with me, really. I’m figuring that part out. I received this comment on a post I did recently from a wonderful new friend and blogger, Michael Lockhart. When I read the comment it made me immediately think about some events that have been taking place in my life recently. It struck me… deep — the mixed euphoria like when you cross the finish line after running a long race and you’re completely spent — you can do no more, but the act of crossing the finish line gave you the strength to think about the next race.
That comment did that for me — it shoved me on a train of thought that perplexed me, forced me to move… I gulped in a deep breath of cleansing air. I’m thinking about the next race, and the next poem, and the next blog post, and the next friend, and the next kid I get to work with, and the next time I go camping, and I’m thinking about all the things I deserve to have in my life — the people I deserve to have in my life. I am buying the cheap-tacky-spreadable-port-wine cheese ball and I am savoring every bite.
I am not without fault. I am not asking you to ignore my trepidations. I am not asking anything of you… I’m asking it of me. I am asking to be… to just be. I’m setting some prisoners free… what about you? Any prisoners you want to set free?
Life is full of these beautiful scary little moments meant to remind us of who we are and who we can be. ~~~ Sheryl Crow