Aub went out for lunch today. When she came back she mentioned a rash on her arm that had come up while she was gone. By the time she returned home, it was gone.
She and Cooter were sitting at the counter while I was loading the dishwasher. We started trying to come up with reasons she might have broken out. She has had reactions before and best we could figure, one food was usually involved.
I know, right?
It was Cooter who asked first. “Did you have bacon?”
He thought for a minute. “Did you eat anything that had been near bacon? Maybe processed with bacon?”
She smiled. “I don’t think so.”
“Hmmmm. What about anything that had anything to do with pigs?”
And so on.
He’s an interesting 8-year-old. But since before he could talk, food allergies have been a part of our world and way of life. With one sister with nut allergies and another whose sensitivities haven’t all been determined, he knows. The language–“may contain,” “processed in a plant,” “nut free”–and the worry. He knows there are restaurants we will never go to, and he knows which ones we can.
As we were talking, and I listened to his line of questioning, it occurred to me. “You’re going to be an allergist when you grow up, aren’t you, buddy?”
He laughed. “Well maybe. I just want you to be okay.” And he leaned in for a hug.
In his Ted Talk, Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministries talks about relationships, about how your mother won’t be homeless because she has YOU. He also talks about the advancement of gay marriage. In this 2010 video, he talks about how fifteen years before there was no place that a couple could be gay and married. And in 2010, there were nine states and a district. The difference, Hugh says, is relationships. People who had friends who were gay were twice as likely to be accepting of gay marriage.
I’m not here today to debate the existence or legalization of gay marriage. I just want to think about what Hugh said–
the difference is relationships.
I saw that today. My little guy would consider becoming an allergist because his sisters suffer from allergies that can be life-threatening.
And I think that’s pretty cool.
I look around at the people in my life. How they shape who I am. The people whom I am in relationship with have a lot to do with what I believe and how I want to live my life. I am thankful for this diverse group who challenge me to step outside my comfort zone and with whom I can have great conversations, even when we disagree on a matter.
That’s what this life is all about. Being our best selves, and not only allowing but also empowering others to do that as well.
May you all have someone around you whom you love enough to make life decisions around, and may you encourage and empower those who are in your circle.
Love to all.
***** I’m pretty sure “Did you have bacon?” was Cooter’s way of saying “I love you” this evening. That whole being known and mattering to someone else–yeah. Love.