Dec 22 2014
I have lost my own true love.
It has been nearly two years in coming. When I first awoke from my coma in December of 2012, I was afraid that something was not right. And though I have tried to deny it many times, the time has come when I must now face the truth.
Although the two of us had blissfully spent many stolen hours together, after my coma things just were not the same.
I tried to force the issue. I tried to pretend that things were going to be the same as they always had been.
When I awoke from my coma, my taste buds were off. I couldn’t taste anything. “It’s the drugs,” the nurses said. And indeed, I was taking so many powerful medications just to stay alive that I wasn’t eating much of anything.
Hospital food was out of the question. The dieticians tried to tempt me with one “delicacy” after another, but face it — it was all made by the hospital cooks, and at that point I was not in a good hospital. Their food was not going to tempt me.
The dieticians finally brought me two bottles of Ensure at every meal. Fluffy took most of the bottles home, where they sat in the refrigerator for months until we finally threw them away.
Instead of the hospital food Fluffy brought me Jell-O or soup, and I ate as much as a cup of that a day. I lost a ton of weight, and that was fine with me.
When I got home, food and I continued to be at war. For about eight months, I ate Velveeta dip on toasted baguette slices for every meal. It was all I could taste, so it was all that tasted good.
One by one, my taste for foods came back. Apples were almost the last. They had been my favorites and I was glad when my love for them returned, but try as I might my one true love remained elusive.
I tried to woo him back.
Every few months, Fluffy would make the pilgrimage to Popeye’s. He would buy the chicken — all dark meat with spicy seasoning. It was just the way I had eaten it, all those furtive years.
It was the chicken that would have been my last meal if I had ever found myself on Death Row and had been forced to make the request — four-piece dinner, all thighs, with red beans and rice and an extra biscuit.
But try as I might, I couldn’t get the chicken to taste the way to me after my coma as it had tasted before. Even two years later, it has an off flavor.
I say to the chicken, “It isn’t you. It’s me.” And it’s true. My taste buds are catty-wampus. I want to love the chicken the way I used to. I just can’t.
Last week was the last straw. I had a doctor’s appointment near a Popeye’s. I decided to get chicken for me and go somewhere else for take-out for Fluffy. His choice was anywhere else. (He isn’t on speaking terms with my beloved. His is a seething jealousy.)
We arrived home, and Fluffy set the feast before me. It took only one bite for me to know the sad truth.
It’s over. “Irreconcilable differences” is what would go on the papers if there were any formal papers, but there aren’t. We have just grown apart. Something that I thought would be a lifetime love affair is no longer a part of my life. Oh, I may return to Popeye’s for the biscuits and the red beans and rice, but I see no point in buying the chicken again. It is finished between us. There is no sense in forcing the issue.
I have spent two years trying to rekindle my flame with Popeye’s chicken. It’s a small incident, perhaps, but it illustrates the idea that we as human beings often hold onto things long after we should let them go.
Sometimes we cling to habits, stubbornly, even though they are no longer our friends. We hang on to a sedentary way of life even though we know we should exercise, or consume a diet that only young people should eat. We watch television shows that dull the senses, or play video games that numb the mind. We may allow our vocabulary to drag us down rather than uplift us, or choose music that incites rather than heals.
Sometimes we hold on to companions who would drag us down. We follow their lead rather than making the effort to being the leader, refusing to put forth the courage to turn the group in a different direction.
It is often the little things that make a big difference in our lives. Either we do those little things or fail to do those little things — a difference is made either way.
1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” The verse implies maturity. When we are spiritually mature, we discard the things we need to put away, the “childish things” that distract us from a meaningful life.
It has taken me two years to realize I need to walk away from my one true love. I only hope that when I am confronted with habits and issues that really matter, I will able to spot them a little more quickly, turn away without hesitation, and become the creature that God intends me to be.