Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Love and Tomatoes

Last night, after attending a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous, Amanda and I stopped at the store. Our original intent was to buy a couple of steaks, and enjoy those with some asparagus. When we got to the meat counter, Amanda suggested that we do something different.

In the freezer at home we already had chicken breasts, and plenty of cheese in the fridge. Why not just get some poblano peppers from the produce department and have chicken stuffed poblano for dinner? It was an easy sell. Believe it or not, our Keto diet has me kind of burnt out on steak.

I offered to cook our meal. It is something I enjoy doing and that would help me to wind down. Once the chicken was out of the freezer thawing, I headed to the garden to pick some jalapeños for our meal. When I arrived I was greeted by clusters of cherry tomatoes that had ripened since my last visit down there two days ago.

So, after picking my peppers, I headed to the tomatoes.

Picking cherry tomatoes always brings back fond memories. I can remember as a very little boy, sitting on the front porch of my grandmother’s home in West Virginia. The House was all brick, and the porch was surrounded with a brick rail. topped with a stone cap that was perfect for sitting.

Just over the the other side of that rail, Grandma had planted cherry tomatoes. They were just within reach, and my brother John and I could lean over that railing and snack on cherry tomatoes while the grown-ups visited.

Parkersburg, West Virginia is just plain hot in the summer. Since Grandma’s house wasn’t air conditioned, we spent a lot of time cooling on that porch. As a result, John and I ate a lot of those tomatoes. I can almost taste them now. The memories they evoke are of happy times. Simple times. Innocent times.

Such was my childhood.

So yes, when I was busily picking tomatoes last night, I popped a couple in my mouth as I went. I knew there were carbs hidden beneath that bright red skin, but what harm could a couple do?

As I savored their juicy deliciousness, memories of that porch filled my mind. It wasn’t just the flavor that I enjoyed in that moment. The love I knew as a child also filled my mind. Along with those memories, my sense of peace and wellbeing grew as I headed back to our apartment.

Then I made a big mistake. I asked Siri how many carbs are in a cherry tomato. Her answer, 6 carbs on average per each of these beauties.

Six??? I only allow myself twenty carbs total per day. I knew I’d already had eight. Shoot… my twenty carb limit was shot for the day. I knew I had cheated on my diet. In just two simple tomatoes, my efforts at maintaining ketosis was in jeopardy.

Though disappointed in myself at first, I soon lightened up on myself. Momentary guilt gave way to peace as I recalled the sense of love I felt while enjoying my tomatoes. I decided to give myself a break. Some things, like cherry tomatoes, are worth the carbs, if only for the way they make me feel as I reflect on my childhood and the love that was always there.

My mom reads my blogs regularly. When I recount stories from my childhood, she has told me that it’s interesting to see how my memories can be different from her’s. Some of that difference I’m sure is based on less than perfect memory (both her’s and mine). Most, though, is likely a matter of perspective. The world looks so different through the eyes of a child. At least mine did.

My memories of cherry tomatoes, and the wonderful emotions they stir, are, I’m certain, influenced by a bit of romanticism. Those times were not perfect by any means, yet in my mind, and in my memories, they were.

I do love cherry tomatoes. In all likelihood, I’ll enjoy more, sacrificing carbs elsewhere in my diet to enjoy their sweet juicy deliciousness. What I will really be enjoying is all the memories they evoke.

Fortunately, there is something else that always reminds me of both my grandmothers. Bacon! Waking up at their homes was always accompanied by the sweet smell of bacon frying in the kitchen. Thank goodness bacon is Keto-friendly!

I love my life today. Somewhere along the way, the innocence of cherry tomatoes and bacon were lost. So was my ability to love, or feel loved.

Today, love has been restored in my life. Not only have memories of how loved I was as a child fill my heart, but also fresh memories of the love I experience daily.

I am ever thankful for the program of Narcotics Anonymous. Through it, love has been restored to my life. Today, I get to make new memories. Not just for me, but for those in my life who love me, and who I have the privilege of loving in return.

Have a remarkable day!

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