Yesterday, I was looking through my holiday cards I received and a friend wrote, “Hope you and yours have a wonderful Holiday Season.” Such a sweet greeting. I’ve read that phrase for years and never once thought about its intended meaning. Who are my ‘Yours,’ my people? Family and friends. The family I was born into, as well my chosen families, my communities; not just my best friends, but my acquaintances too. The strangers that I meet on the street, the subway. Everybody. The net is wide and everyone whose life we touch on any level are added to the group. We must take responsibility for our people.
I was saying goodbye to my parents in Missouri before returning back to NYC after the holiday and we had a heart to heart talk. I told them that their only job was to love one another. My Dad said, “That’s not our only job.” I disagreed with him, “No, Dad. If we can’t take care of our people, then any other job we accomplish has no meaning.”
Now that I’m back to my life in The Big Apple, missing my family terribly, I keep thinking back to that conversation. Am I taking care of my precious people? I can set and achieve every lofty goal in the world, but if I can’t achieve compassion for my neighbor, patience with my loved ones, or gratitude for what’s on my plate, then my goals are empty. They have no value whatsoever.
Life is seemingly hard. We get frustrated, worn down, and we lash out. We’re human. Part of being a human is hurting people unfortunately, intentionally or unintentionally. But hurt is hurt. In the moment, we may not feel like we have control of our words and actions because of our circumstances, but we definitely have control over the forgiveness, the apology, the thank you after the hurt has passed. Our only job is to love one another. And love isn’t all roses and romance. It’s digging deep and admitting we are wrong. It’s coming back after the argument and finding the apology. It’s saying thank you for what we receive despite the fact that very often we feel it’s not enough. That’s real love.
I have some pretty lofty goals set for 2015, but I want to take a step back before I start mapping them out. I want to look at the details of my life that build the foundation for my bright future. Without these details, no online program I purchase to create a blueprint for my year, no life coach I hire to help me stay on course, no retreat I go on to keep me centered and grounded will get me any closer to my goals if I can’t expand myself in the answers to these questions below. It’s a day by day thing. I plan on checking in every night with myself to see how I did. I know for a fact the answers won’t always be good ones. But the good news is I get to wake up the next day and try even harder. That’s how we meet any goal anyway, building day by day with our efforts.
How kind can I be when I feel like being curt?
How much patience can I have when I am frustrated?
How much compassion can I show to others that are struggling?
How much forgiveness can I offer when I feel I have been wronged?
How grateful can I be even though I sometimes feel like I am lacking?
How sweet can I be despite my sour thoughts?
And on a sweet and sour note, I leave you with this recipe. Sweet and sour flavors are complementary. They balance each other out. Some friends generously gifted me with Meyer lemons from their tree in California, but if you can’t find them, regular lemons will be just as delicious. I wish you all sweetness for the coming year, to You and Yours.
Meyer Lemon Mousse
adapted from a recipe by Stephanie Prida
. 3/4 cup sugar
. 2 tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
. 1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
. 7 large egg yolks
. 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
. 1 cup heavy cream
1. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest, and lemon juice with the egg yolks. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and incorporated. Strain the lemon curd into a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate the curd until chilled, about 2 hours.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream until firm. Fold two-thirds of the whipped cream into the lemon curd** and spoon into bowls or mason jars. Dollop the remaining whipped cream on top, sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of lemon zest and serve.
**it is completely acceptable to buy ready made lemon curd in a jar from the store and mix it with whipped cream.("It doesn't matter how you get there, as long as you get there." -Delino DeShields)