Eat Dessert First (Then Find Your Peace)
Posted on March 18, 2014
“What brings you peace?”
It was another random line of questioning Adam* and I found ourselves exchanging via text. I was on my way back to D.C. after spending the weekend in Brooklyn. I glanced at my phone while nesting the latest issue of Vogue on my lap. My notifications alerted me of a new message while I looked out the bus window gazing at the New York skyline, which was slowly fading behind me. Unlike my usual rapid-response texting, I wanted to let his question settle in before replying, though I already knew the answer.
Just earlier in the day I had come to terms with my peace. It was a revelatory occurrence that captured me while eating brunch at my favorite West Indian restaurant in SoHo. After an eventful weekend, I decided I would end my trip by meeting with a friend and former Georgetown classmate.
Chloe and I sat at the bar of Miss Lily’s with our heads bobbing to the old school reggae blaring in the background. We caught up in the way old friends do–by detailing all the the events that happened over the last four years; things that led us to sitting across from each other on a cool March afternoon. Each of our faces had a certain glow as we shared what we learned from the heartbreaks and setbacks we experienced, respectively. Though we had walked out our individual stories alone, somehow it seemed we had been right in each other’s shoes all along. We were tickled by the way God seemed to carry us through our pain into new seasons and we could’ve chatted about it forever, but it was time to eat.
I ordered the traditional Jamaican breakfast: ackee, salt fish, callaloo and sweet plantains. By other cultural standards sweet plantains could be considered a dessert, but in Jamaica it is often apart of breakfast. It’s a luxury of sorts; being able to having something sweet early in the day. So, when the server placed my meal before me I immediately dived into my plantains first.
The warmth and sweetness of the bananas were comforting and surprisingly nostalgic. I took in each bite as if it would be my final meal. I didn’t want the moment to last forever, but I also didn’t want it to be fleeting. So, I sat. And I ate. And I smiled with nodding approval. And that’s where I found my peace–in the presence of an old-new friend, listening to good music while starting with dessert. It was a simple yet defining moment. I wasn’t worried about my to-do list, fears, and insecurities. I didn’t flinch at the what-ifs hovering over my life. I was present and being present made me fully alive.
That’s usually how it happens. Peace greets us in the everyday occurrences of the mundane. If we’re lucky enough, we can acknowledge its presence, submit to its stillness and let the peace heighten our awareness of just how good life is–even in the midst of the ordinary.
As the bus moved full speed ahead onto the New Jersey Turnpike I thought back to hours before boarding. I could still taste the plantains in my mouth and feel the stillness of peace in my heart. I smiled as I picked up my phone, finally ready to reply:
“Being present. Not looking back or ahead, but being okay with where I am in the moment,” I responded.
I switched from my text messages to check the weather alerts for D.C. There was a 90% chance of a snow storm. I locked my phone and picked up my magazine, unconcerned with the threat of bad weather because I knew in the midst of the storm there would always be room for dessert.
* Name changed to protect the innocent.
Now it’s your turn: What brings you peace?
Drop a line or two in the comments section below.