Author: Katie Huey

Day 31 – 52 Good Things

I’m back. My spirits are lifted a bit and I’m encouraged by the neat things people are still doing. Yesterday I was sad. Today, I asked a friend to pray for me as I stood in line to get into the grocery store. And then, I snapped out of it when sitting waiting for a Zoom meeting I heard something familiar.

136. Children laughing in the backyard next to ours

There are still good things. I needed to remember to look. Maybe you do too right now. We’re still here. We can still breathe deep and tell people we’re loved.

Here are a few more.

137. Cocoa puffs and cereal milk

138. Second City is hosting free improv shows 

139. Pink tulips in vases of fresh water

140. Belly laughs

What good and beautiful things are you seeing in your life these days? Please send them to me at 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com

 

This is not ok.

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Photo by Katsia Jazwinska on Unsplash

I remember standing at the high kitchen counter. My back was facing the big sliding door as the sun started to set and I was leaning against the worn wicker chair. My tear streamed face was turned down and I was looking at my fingers. 

“It’s going to be ok,” I kept saying to no one in particular.

My dad had died earlier that day and we had gathered in the kitchen as family started to show up.

“It’s going to be ok.”

At the time, my brain was spouting words of comfort while stuck in a spinning cycle of thoughts. I hadn’t gotten to the What-the-actual-F*** part yet. I was just trying to soothe the immediate blow.

There have been millions of posts about the world right now. Memes swish in cyberspace and hearts are broken on Facebook and with every It’s-going-to-be-ok sentiment exists a person leaning against chairs in the midst of confusion and swirling thoughts.

If you’re paying attention, your brain and your body are trying to self-soothe.

I don’t remember anyone responding to my five word phrase that day. No one was acknowledging my need to make things ok.

This was not ok. Someone I loved had died.

All over the world, people have died and their losses are broadcast on the news, turned into cautionary tales, used to make other folks terrified. Shame creeps in as the media lurks and warns and flashes as we silently pray, “Please not my people.”

In his book, Joe Biden estimates that for every person we lose, six people are intimately grieving that loss. The US lost over 20,000 people this month. Multiply that by six and realize the number of folks now plunged into grief. Add on the ones who already lost someone and the number of those impacted grows substantially. We’re triggered, we’re sad, we’re wondering and I’m hoping, staying the heck home.

This is not ok.

I’ve been at home for a month now. I know people who have gotten sick and my heart aches when I see posts of people who have died. No one is untouched by this experience.

I flashback to the kitchen and the white wicker bar stool and I whisper to my younger self, “No, this isn’t ok.”

I wish someone had said that to me.

This isn’t ok.

I’ve learned, in the last four years, when we call out the truth of our horrible experiences they lose the tight grips on our hearts and our worried brains.

There’s no going back.

I’m more compassionate to myself. I’m less tolerant of the things our world tells us are important. My molecules have rearranged and my perspectives have softened. I’m quicker to anger at injustice and ache for connection. Scars of loneliness get special attention and I type into the void with calm fingers wishing people could listen – all of our not-ok-ness is valid. We deserve a place to put our not ok stories.

This is not ok.

Let us weep and rest and extend grace to others as we make new choices from what remains. We will stand and move out of the rubble of the worlds we once knew. Donate money. Throw things safely.

Call out the not-ok-ness. I promise these four words are beautiful things.

 

 

 

Bread of Life

“You and everyone else,” she said through her little square box framing her face on the Zoom call.

“It’s delicious. I have plenty of time to practice the craft.” I said to my friend from college through the computer connecting us.

On Sunday last, I spent an hour talking to six women who walked through college with me. We haven’t connected as a group in four years. A pandemic brought us together as schedules opened and boredom crept in. From screens on kitchen tables in Denver, in Brooklyn, and in Spokane, we spent an hour catching up during the oddest life pause we’ve experienced.

She was making fun of me and the seemingly thousands of others in quarantine who have discovered the joy of making homemade bread kitchens world wide.

Starting bread is simple. Flour, water, salt. Cover in dampness and let the air do its magic.

Mix.

Let it breathe.

Add heat and watch it crisp and bubble and morph into sustenance.

Three weeks ago, I was given a jar of white goo from a friend who had kept her starter alive for decades. The building block has grown and multiplied over the years and by miracles of community and connection, parts of the original landed on my doorstep in small glass mason jar.

In my dark kitchen on an unremarkable week night, I pressed connect to launch another video call. My mom walked me through the steps to make a scraggily dough. I called again after the overnight rise for guidance on amounts of flour, moisture, and time required to make something edible.

I’ve followed the steps on my own four times now. Bread is in the oven as I type.

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This week, a friend received another jar of the same white goo from the same legendary start. On another unremarkable week night, she called me via video chat to walk through the same steps my mom taught me just days prior.

The dough, and the love, are multiplying.

My friend sent pictures of her process. My incorrect direction to add extra flour caused her mason jar to overflow. Excess bubbled over and marking her counters with sticky residue.

In my small community, we’ve been texting recipes and getting on video calls and cheering from our kitchens far away.

This bread is connecting people.


Last night, Jesus ate the Last Supper of bread and wine.

Flour. Salt. Water. Grapes.

Simple ingredients connecting us through history.

They tell me Jesus is the Bread of Life.

While I slept and my dough rose, Jesus knew what was coming. Prophecies of betrayal and sacrifice and death led us here to Good Friday. Things we fear and want to avoid came to fruition.

From my home, I’ll sit down and watch a church service online. Maybe dim the lights to get the theatrical effect mega-churches seem to have mastered so well over the years.

“It is finished,” he’ll scream this afternoon and I’ll break my bread in remembrance of Him. I’ll sip my wine and feel the tannins gloss my throat as I swallow down the pain.

We must wait three days until everything changes.

Things feel finished. I feel sad and broken and scared for the ones I love. I know this is going to take more than three days to resolve.

And yet, what is finished in death rises on Sunday.  Even in quarantine.

I can’t help but thinking there’s something to this powerful resurgence of sourdough.

Dough rises. It’s connecting us.

This mix of simple things give rise to something powerful. New life with a crusty chew.

Beautiful things.

 

Day 24 – 52 Good Things

I’m thinking about changing the title of these posts and stop counting. It doesn’t do much good to note how many days have passed. We are still here and we are resilient.

And scared. And hurting. And grieving. And baking. And FaceTiming. And watching church online. And wondering if it’s worth going out to get an Easter Ham.

Maybe just me on the ham …

All of our experiences are valid. I’m glad your here.

Here are a few more good things happening in the world – let’s continue our count together until it takes as many days as it takes.

130. The Globe Theater in London is letting people screen Hamlet for free

131. Pub cheese and pretzels

132. Orders of fresh flowers being delivered to my door

133. Overflowing jars of sourdough starter

134. Roasted chicken with lemon and homemade gravy

135. Zoom calls with friends from college

Send your list of good things in your world right now to me when you can. 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com

Day 21 – 52 Good Things

The list continues. As do the days. I probably won’t be posting every day, but here’s what I’m adding to the list from this weekend.

118. This guy’s parody videos

119. More sourdough

120. Naps in the afternoon

121. Virtual book club

122. Samsonthedood on Instagram (submitted by Katie B)

123. Homemade palms for Palm Sunday and children parading in kitchens

124. This hilarious coronavirus-themed parody of “One day more” from Les Misérables from a family in the U.K. watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/625160175/videos/10163265168130176/

125. How to sew a face mask: https://www.nytimes.com/article/how-to-make-face-mask-coronavirus.html

126. New Yorkers applaud health care workers and first responders from home https://www.instagram.com/p/B-Qi9IcpHBO/

(124-126 submitted by Suzanne M)

127. Manuals for old sewing machines on YouTube

128. Chocolate chips

129. Homemade stain glass windows made of paint and tape

Send your list of good things in your world right now to me when you can. 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com

 

Day 18 – 52 Good Things

I went to the grocery store today and thanked every employee I talked to. One man responded with genuine appreciation. “Most people are just yelling at us because we are out of things” he said.

Standing in line outside the store was weird. I felt contaminated until I got home, washed my hands, and wiped everything down with Lysol. I washed my avocados. That’s new.

I miss my dad today. It’s grey and snowing. And still, I’m surprised by the helpful things companies are offering and the good in the in between spaces. So here we go.

111. Organic India is sending free immunity support kits all over the country. Request yours here.

112. Khesed Wellness is offering up to 500 free mental health sessions for those directly impacted by the virus. If you can donate, more will be able to get services.

113. Whole milk for coffee

114. Texts with cousins far away

115.  Recipes from old cook books

116. Summoning my Minnesota roots in the form of casserole

117. This hilarious would you rather: Would you rather have fins for feet or a blow hole?

Well – what would you rather have? I really want to know!

Send your answer and your list of good things in your world right now to me when you can. 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com

Day 17 – 52 Good Things

And the list continues.

104. Mousse made in a blender

105. Old movies

106. Baby photos

107. Melted cheese

108. Jon Krasinski’s Good Things segments

109. Phone calls

110. Offers of help

What simple, beautiful things did you encounter? Let’s keep this list going for as long as we need to.

As a reminder, send me a note with the good in your world at 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com or a DM on Instagram. Keep em’ comin.