The bitter and the sweet

When I was a kid my parents forced me to eat green beans. Eating those awful smelling vomit sticks was extremely traumatic. So much so that many of my dinner time memories have been repressed.

Because ending your dinner with a bite of green beans is borderline torture, I remember choking them down before anything else. I didn’t want my last bite to be bitter. When the green vomit sticks were gone, I would happily eat mashed potatoes, Mac n cheese, or whatever side my mother had fixed.

If you haven’t caught on, I despise green beans. Neala, you like green beans and eat them regularly. I nearly gag fixing them for you and feel I should win some sort of motherly award for this act of unselfishness.

Unfortunately, this year life served me a giant plate of green beans. Your Pawpaw, my father, died on January 9th.
I, along with my mother and sisters, didn’t have the option of leaving the green beans of loss on our plate. We couldn’t secretly shove them onto the floor for the dog to eat. Or slowly drop them in a napkin on our lap. (I totally did that as a child.)

Willing or not, we were forced to eat the green beans of grief. And like a vegetable, it seems the green beans of grief are served daily.

The holidays seem to be when grief tastes the worst.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick up our sadness and grief like an unwanted vegetable and toss it in the garbage?

So this Father’s Day is bittersweet.

It’s bitter because it will be my first Father’s Day with out my daddy.

But it’s sweet because Lincoln, it’s our first Father’s Day with you.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 128,000 times.  I choose joy.  Even when it doesn’t choose me.
In the midst of my sadness I choose to find the good.
When my heart wants to grow hard and disappointed in God because of what has been taken from me, I choose to see the wonderful things He has given me.

This year will be the first year I don’t make or buy a Father’s day card for my daddy.  Bitter.
But this year I will help you make a card for your daddy.  Sweet.

This year we won’t eat out at a restaurant with my dad after church (he would have chosen Los Bravos).  Bitter.
But this year we might take JoJo to Los Bravos and celebrate the fact that she is still with us. Sweet.

This year I won’t call him first thing Sunday morning to wish him a Happy Father’s Day and sing him a silly song.  Bitter.
But this year I will sit by his grave and remember all the wonderful memories we shared for 35 years of my life.  Sweet.

I’m going to chew the green beans of grief. And then thank God for everything else that is sweet. 

I refuse to let my last bite be bitter. 

Mommy would be lying if she told you life was always sweet. As you grow, life will happen. It will serve you dishes you may not want to eat. While you can’t change the dish, you can decide on your last bite. 

Choose wisely.

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