My January has gotten off to a melancholy start. Please indulge my small litany.
... My heart is with my family at home in Missouri battling daily health issues. And my body is here in New York City.
... I have come to the last straw on this apartment and made the huge decision to move... again!
... My phone was lost in an Uber, my computer crashed, my neighborhood caught on fire, the rivers in my city absolutely froze over in a weather phenomenon called a Bomb Cyclone. I could go on. (I won’t.)
I reached out to a friend and he gently offered the famous words, “This, too, shall pass.“
Sigh. Nobody really wants to hear those words, do they? I didn’t. I wanted to wallow. I wanted pity. I wanted to hear something I didn’t know already. My wise friend offered the words so generously, I couldn’t discount them. I put them into the pocket of my heart and turned them over and over like a smooth stone. The words gave me solace.
My friend delivered a golden universal truth. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. As good as this moment is, it will dissolve into another moment. Maybe worse, maybe better. As horrible as this moment is, it will evolve into some new moment, maybe worse, maybe better. Whatever the moment, it will pass into another one. Everything is temporary.
Well of course my phone was found, my computer fixed, fires were extinguished, good news arrived from doctor visits at home, the snow and ice became fog and then sunshine, and I’ve met with a real estate friend already offering up great new apartments that fit my requirements!
All. Good. Things.
Eventually I got over myself. I opened my eyes and heart to something new, and my melancholy passed. And I remembered my friend’s words every single day. This, too, shall pass.
Who even came up with that phrase? History provides many options of its origins. It stems from a fable written by Persian Sufi poets. It’s also mentioned in an English poem from 1852 called Solomon’s Seal. 'This, too, shall pass' is not mentioned in the Bible, but many credit a verse from Corinthians for the phrase's inspiration.
My favorite version is from Jewish folklore which tells the story that, 'This, too, shall pass' originated with the story of King Solomon. It is said that the King, feeling blue, asked his advisors to find him a ring he had seen in a dream. “When I feel satisfied I’m afraid that it won’t last. And when I don’t, I am afraid my sorrow will go on forever. Find me the ring that will ease my suffering.” Eventually, an advisor met an old jeweler who carved into a simple gold band the Hebrew inscription “gam zeh ya’avor” – “this too shall pass.”
On September 30, 1859, Abraham Lincoln recounted a similar story: “It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”
"How consoling in the depths of affliction!" Oooh isn’t that a beautiful sentence? It’s like an embrace. A hug of syllables. I offer you those words, to hug and console you if your days aren’t going as planned or if your January is also off to a melancholy start. And remember that the good times will change too. Be open to what comes.
One of the culinary highlights of winter is the abundance of citrus. When life (or the season) gives you lemons, hollow them out, freeze them, and fill them with sorbet! I cooked a dinner party last month and did this with oranges too. It’s an easy, yet fancy dessert. Perhaps it's a bit chilly these days for sorbet, but warm spring and summer days aren't far away. Let's enjoy the winter, for it, too, shall pass.
Citrus Sorbet Cups
If you have an ice cream maker and the time, by all means, make your own sorbet. I used store bought sorbet because I had 4 other courses to prepare for my dinner. Shortcuts, my friends, short cuts! Those short cuts lead you down the road of more time and better results on the homemade items.
- 10 small oranges
- 10 medium sized lemons
- 3 pints of lemon sorbet
- 3 pints of orange sorbet( I used blood orange!)
Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the fruit. This will create a base for it to stand up on the plate. You don't want to cut through the citrus skin though. Cut the top 1/8 - 1/4 off the other end of the fruit. Gently insert a spoon in between the flesh and the skin, slicing your way around to separate the two. It'll feel tricky at first, and then you'll find a groove and the fruit flesh and juice will easily work itself out of the shell. (It's messy, do it over a bowl to catch everything.) Reserve this for another use (drink it, make lemonade, salad dressing, marinades, etc.) Once the fruits are all empty and free of pulp (you might have cut your base slice too thick and now there's a hole. Cut off the tippy top of the fruit, like a button, seal up the hole at the bottom of the shell.) place the shells on a tray that can go in the freezer. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, fill with sorbet, refreeze for at least another hour to hour and a half, and serve. I froze mine overnight and they shrunk a bit. After 4 courses, no one minded a dainty dessert!