For my family, like a lot of yours, our celebrations may not have a person or event at the center of them, but food is definitely the star of the show. Birthdays are about cupcakes. Before we head out for an event that the kids are participating in, we think about what we will eat when we celebrate the event being over – win or lose.
When I shared my diagnosis with my oldest, I said, “well, food will no longer be my source of joy.” He replied, “food isn’t a source of joy, it is a source of sustenance that you need to live.”
I know he is right. Food is what I need to live – it isn’t LIFE itself. But still.
So, here I am. I’m up early and the house is quiet. The kids are still sleeping, probably because they don’t smell food. It is Saturday, and they expect to smell sausage or something. I made oatmeal, put some frozen strawberries in the food processor, boiled my tea, and that was that. No one is running downstairs from the smell of oatmeal. I’m not sure it even has a smell.
Since I am going to have to be hyper aware of what I put in my body, I figured why not go on the same foolishness free diet for my mind? Whenever I’m not ready to study, I turn on some mindless, useless sci-fi thing and eventually fall asleep. What a waste. So today, I said I would open my Bible to a random page and start reading. It opened to Ecclesiastes 5:8.
I wasn’t ready.
8 If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.
9 The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.
10 Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless.
11 As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
except to feast their eyes on them?
12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
permits them no sleep.
13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
14 or wealth lost through some misfortune,
so that when they have children
there is nothing left for them to inherit.
15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
and as everyone comes, so they depart.
They take nothing from their toil
that they can carry in their hands.
16 This too is a grievous evil:
As everyone comes, so they depart,
and what do they gain,
since they toil for the wind?
17 All their days they eat in darkness,
with great frustration, affliction and anger.
18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.
19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.
20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.
I’ve been struggling with studying for this bar exam. People always ask me, “what will you do with your degree.” While I was listening to lectures in the car, my youngest asked me if I’d work in a law firm like her friend’s dad. I gave her the standard answer that I’ve been giving for a while now. Then she says, “didn’t you say you were going to do something about immigration?”
I did say that. But we’ll be sending two kids off to college back to back. We don’t have student loans, but we would love to be otherwise debt free. The work I wanted to do when I started law school probably wouldn’t make that easier.
I also see my children growing up before my eyes and I don’t want to miss a single minute. Because I homeschool, I get to see their “aha” moments, their struggles, their ups and downs, and even their micro talents. Do I really want to spend 3 months with my head buried in a book? I feel great about that work, of course, but I know there’s more to be done.
I was blessed with an opportunity to provide my books for children in several Caribbean countries. While the blessing was also financial, it was also amazing to know that my words would bring happiness to kids. That’s what I want. I want to be able to work, find joy in what I do, and bring some joy to others as well.
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Either way, my first hurdle is this bar exam, and man… it is daunting to say the least. The anxious feeling has been compounded a bit because I know that each time I reach a milestone or kill a practice test or reach the end of a long day of teaching the kids and studying, I won’t be celebrating with my favorite foods. Even when I pass, I might not be celebrating with a high paying job.
Turning my focus away from food and money is the only way I’ll be able to make it through this time in my life…
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.
Here’s to God keeping me “occupied with gladness of heart.”