Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Orange Prayer

Years ago, when I was student teaching in a rather snobbish Midwestern high school, I sometimes ate lunch with another teacher. The two of us were outcasts who ended up tablemates due to our respective disabilities. Hers was that she was blind. Mine was that I was 21. I don’t remember what my friend’s name was or what she taught. What I do remember is the time she ate an orange.

She divined her way around the rind, then held it in front of her face like a crystal ball and pried off the peel, smiling into the air as she did. The finest sparkling spray, backlit by the fluorescent lights of the teachers’ lounge, poofed into her face like a magic spell. When she laughed with childish delight, I realized she’d cast it on purpose.

Then she carefully separated the segments, arranged them on her napkin, and steepled her orange-scented hands in front of her nose and breathed in the scent as if it were a life-giving prayer of thanks. And I believe in a sense it was.

She turned to me and beamed. “There’s nothing like eating an orange,” she said.

I have never seen an orange in quite the same way since. In fact, she taught me to see thanks itself in a new way.

For that gift, too, I am immensely thankful.



“…that’s why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.” Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

14 comments:

  1. Absolutely wonderful story, Tammy, and the orange you have chosen as illustration looks as if it will poof out beautiful smells when opened.
    I am very aware of blindness these days because our dog has cataracts. When I had cataracts, I had surgery, and now have artificial lenses in both eyes. Lindy is not a candidate for surgery because she might not survive it. So every day we try to make sure that her life is not deteriorating along with her eyesight. It is a lesson in love.
    K

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    1. Thank you, Kay. Our dog had eye issues as he aged, too, so I do know that struggle. You're right - sometimes the toughest and most loving thing you can do is the hands-off approach. Best to Lindy.

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  2. Tammy--Only you could write such a moving post about an orange. Bravo!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sioux, but only someone like that woman could have taught me how!

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  3. What a wonderful lesson she taught unwittingly. Sometimes we take our gifts for granted.

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    1. How true! Thank you so much for visiting!

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  4. What a wonderful post, Tammy. What a lovely lesson.

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    1. Thank you, Linda! I'm lucky to have had a lot of good teachers in life!

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  5. How to appreciate the simple things in life is something we all need to learn. Beautiful story, Tammy.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. You said it, Pat! Thanks for taking time to be here!

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  6. That is such a neat story. I was thinking of my friend from long ago who was blind too. One morning she just woke up that way. She was the neatest person.

    Hugs,
    Kathy M.

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  7. Love that story. I bet your friend would be surprised to learn that she inspired you, and further, that you have in turn inspired your readers.

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  8. I think I'll eat an orange with my eyes closed...

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  9. Wonderful post, Tammy. It just goes to show that life should be lived in the moment, and that every simple thing can be enjoyed with a sensibility of thankfulness.

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