I love pizza — a lot. Maybe more than what would be considered normal affinity for this perfect culinary creation. Carbs, cheese, garlic, tomato sauce and a delicious array of toppings gets the job done for me each and every time I get to enjoy it. In fact, I’m planning to have a slice of leftover pizza for breakfast today — go ahead and judge me, it’s okay!
Much to my dismay, a few months back pizza was also the thing that put my gallbladder over the edge and sent me to the ER. I had just enjoyed a Friday night pizza dinner with the kids and before I knew it, I was doubled over in pain. After that late-night visit to the hospital and subsequent diagnosis of a problematic gallbladder, pizza was immediately placed on the “no no” list until my gallbladder could be removed.
A bad pun no doubt but, that was a hard diagnosis to swallow. Something I thoroughly enjoy was no longer an option and it would be an unknown (but lengthy) amount of time until I could enjoy it again. I had to settle for a low-fat diet until I could part ways with my gallbladder and could resume a more satisfyingly delicious diet. I was in a holding pattern.
Once the waiting game was over, my surgery was complete, and my gallbladder had met its demise I slowly began trying different foods again, knowing my ultimate marker of success would be enjoying pizza once again.
The first pizza I ate post-op came from a local mom-and-pop italian restaurant near my house. To summarize this masterpiece: lots of garlic and generously applied cheese. Those first few bites of my favorite food were everything — we were reunited and it tasted so good! What I had missed was back in my life and I was all the more appreciative of the flavors, textures and tastes. I savored each and every bite.
What are you starving for?
Right now, each of us is in a place where things we enjoy deeply, maybe our most favorite things, are completely off limits. There are experiences and activities that we genuinely enjoy, down to the depths of who we are, and we are being mandated to not do them. As a result, we are left with some cravings that can’t be satisfied.
There are clear and compelling reasons to support social distancing, stay home, wash hands and do our part to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Each of us has a role and responsibility to be a wise and responsible global citizen during this global pandemic. But the fact remains, there are things we miss deeply in the present. Playing sports, family gatherings, going to school, birthday parties, church services, shopping, concerts, going out to dinner, wine with friends — there are so many meaningful aspects of our daily life that are absent.
Right now, we are in a holding pattern. In Virginia, it appears we will be in this place until June 10, at least. Whether June 10 or another date, the holding pattern will someday lift. And, when we are on the other side of this global pandemic, it is my sincere hope that we will appreciate the flavors of life that we are missing in the present. I hope that we savor and take time to enjoy all that is currently lacking.
One day, we will be able to hug again, give high-fives again and be socially near again. We will get to attend birthday parties, church services, and weddings. Concerts will take place somewhere other than our living room and wine will be enjoyed with friends outside of a Zoom environment. Let’s be prepared to savor.
In the interim, let’s encourage each other while we find ways to substitute for what is absent. I’ve enjoyed seeing how people are getting creative with how they are making this work! Our church is live streaming services, the school system is delivering lunch daily via bus routes, kids are connecting with friends over Zoom get-togethers. We are finding ways to enjoy life in the present, and we are insistent that we will find bright spots. Let’s ensure we are stubborn in our resolve to stay connected and supportive of each other, while we wait.
I’m not sure I fully appreciated pizza until I had to go without during my short-lived medical drama. Likewise, I wonder what things we did not fully appreciate until being forced to go without during this global pandemic. We owe it to ourselves to pause, reflect in gratitude and look toward a restored future with great anticipation. As we do so, let’s make sure we committed to savor our future.