It’s officially summer, and no food says summer to me like watermelon. Juicy, running down your forearm and chin, seed spitting contest enabling watermelon. It’s nature’s candy and children’s joy. Because of an unfortunate experience, it’s also a reminder to me that it is so important to be kind over clever.
The Lead Up
A few years ago, I had the privilege of attending a professional picnic that I was really excited for. Not only was it in the beautiful city of Napa, but it had a great guest list of business owners I respected. The attendees were a combination of people that I already liked and others that I didn’t know yet but admired from afar. I was eager to put my best foot forward.
I’m no bum in the kitchen, so I thought contributing a potluck dish that was delicious and a little different would be a good way for me to stand out. The winning recipe was a watermelon, tomato, and poppyseed salad I had made a few weeks earlier. I may sound like a crazy combination, but trust me when I say it’s delicious and refreshing! (The New York Times has a similar one.)
So, salad in hand, I drove three hours up to wine country, brimming with hope and excitement!
The Clever Words
The picnic was lovely and well attended. There was some murmuring when people got to my salad in the buffet line (“Watermelon and tomato? Huh. I’ll try it.”), but I was expecting that. I knew that once they tasted it, they would like it. In my imagination, they would ask who brought such an unusual and delicious dish, and I would have my moment in the sun.
Lysa TerKeurst, well known Christian author, speaker, and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, recently announced her impending divorce. On her blog, she gave the heartbreaking news that her husband cheated on her for years, and nothing has changed after eighteen months of intense marriage crisis counseling.
Some stood quickly atop their soapboxes and spouted their opinions about her divorce, behavior, and ministry. I don’t think now is a time for standing or spouting; I think now is a time for sitting and grieving.
Lysa wisely turned off the comments on her blog, and I couldn’t find a way to email her. Still, I wanted to let her know that she was not alone. From across the country, many of us are sitting and grieving with her. I hope this letter reaches her, but even if it doesn’t, I’m glad to have one more compassionate voice out there during this hard time.
Today’s post will be short and sweet. I tried elaborating, but the fluff detracted from the simplicity of this life-changing relationship rule. It’s a rule we learned from our friends Carlo & Sarah, and we’ve followed it since the early days of dating.
I used to be a board game flipper. Honestly, I don’t remember a lot of the details, I suppose that’s a side effect of Hulk-ing. But either when I was losing really badly, or maybe after I had already lost, I flipped the board game and stormed off.
I couldn’t handle my frustration.
While I’ve outgrown throwing board games, I wouldn’t say that I’m cured. Extreme frustration can still put my projects in mortal peril.
As a recent example, I felt like I was walking a tight rope with my college experience blog post. I wanted to show that I was slow developing meaningful friendships, but without discounting the amazing people I went to school with. I wanted to show that I took my studies seriously, had fun, and traveled, but without appearing to brag. I wanted to get my point across, but without rambling. I wanted celebrate my overall experience, but without undermining other peoples’. I felt like I was continuously falling off the tight rope.
I became frustrated, and I was seriously tempted to trash the post altogether.
But surprisingly, something I learned from a baking show saved the day.
Tonight, five unforeseeable mishaps have conspired to land me at an unfamiliar cafe. The cafe is a little off the beaten track, with an upstairs seating area that overlooks the downstairs. I’m currently upstairs, and downstairs a college student is participating in a rather painful open mic night. I’ve put in my headphones and turned on Pandora to drown him out – dubstep, the concentration music of my college career. To make matters even odder, I’m wearing an old Cal t-shirt.
I feel transported back to my college years.
When I went to UC Berkeley, Caffe Med was one of my favorite study spots. It was similar to the one I sit in now – split into two levels, and a little of the beaten track. Caffe Med served great coffee as well as delicious, freshly made carrot juice. They were open late – ’till about 2am – which was great for last minute studying or essay writing. What I loved most about it, though, was that is was generally pretty devoid of college students. There might be a few scattered about, but it definitely wasn’t packed to the rafters like the other local cafes.
I liked studying alone in college. I liked being alone in college.
A lot of people talk about their college experience as their glory days – their social apex!
That wasn’t my experience.
For example, to commemorate freshmen year dorm life, at the end of the year, someone made a yearbook that included a drawn out floor plan with cut out pictures of our heads. The heads were placed not in the rooms where we lived, but into the rooms where we most often hung out. Most heads were clustered into their primary friend groups. My head was in my own room – away from the pack.
I was separated, like a metaphor for my primarily independent college experience.