Eat Your Okra: What to do When Life Tastes Bad

My mother used to put okra in the stew. And I hated it. It was slimy and green — two things that most little boys avoid with every fiber of their being. And never should those two ingredients be presented as food.  No way was I going to buy it. To a ten-year old, okra isn’t food.

I could eat the other parts of the stew, but leaving the okra until the bottom of the bowl only meant that I would have to take several spoons of the mushy vegetable all at once. The dog wasn’t to be fooled and neither was mom. It had to go down the hatch. So I ate the stew in whole – meat, potatoes, carrots, broth and okra. And it actually tasted pretty decent.

For the most part, my year is going along pretty well. I’m seeing hopes and dreams come true. But I’ll admit, there has been some okra thrown in. The sins of my past are forgiven, but there are still consequences.   I’ve said things I wish I could take back. There’s been some tough things in family and work. 

Sometimes, I wish I could just pull out bad, to make them disappear. I could try to wrap them in a napkin and throw them in the trash. But the best thing I can do is eat the whole stew. And you know what? Despite the world’s attempt to make it bad, this stew is actually pretty good.

There is a tendency to want to start over again, but the reality is that we live in reality. There is no fantasy-land, no Eden of innocence. Even the redemption story saves the person where he is — not where he wishes he were.
Life if Good, photo by D. Rupert

Life if Good, photo by D. Rupert

I was intrigued by what Cindy Waldrop wrote once. As she cleaning her home, the swirling cloud of dirt from her efforts set off a time of reflection, the dust of her own life agitated in memory. She said that she was “tired of her own story.” And that story is one of failure, of loss, of rejection. “All of these things that constrict my air, that feel binding, that are dragging behind me like chains…I know this story well.”
 And in her frustration she just wants to have a complete fresh start, to level the whole thing to the ground. “The world grows this way in hearts, doesn’t it?”

Then the dust settles in her home. And she sits and gives thanks

And here, the empty pot awaits, ready for a fresh batch.

What will be in your pot? Do you like okra?