For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)
I was thinking about okra. I thought it was just a southern vegetable until I did some research and found that it is grown all over the world and thrives in northern climates as well as southern ones. How you prepare okra depends on where you or your parents were raised. In India, they mix it up with spices like chili or curry and fry it with onions. Fried okra is the kind I learned to eat as a child. Rolled in corn meal and cooked to a crisp in hot lard is the best way to prepare it. Then, it is like popcorn. My mom used to smack our hands with the spatula because we would eat it faster than she could cook it. Though you can buy it in the freezer section all ready for the fryer, fresh is better. The frozen stuff is kind of slimy. As is stewed okra and tomatoes. I can tolerate okra in my soup, but stewed with tomatoes, it gets too stringy and squashy for me. Okra is a versatile vegetable. You can disguise it with corn meal, serve it with spices or throw it in a pot and boil it to death. However, you prepare it, it is still okra. Still green with a chewy pod and tiny seeds. Yeah, that’s okra. Why was I thinking about okra? It all started when I took a Myers Briggs personality test on Facebook. Is nothing sacred anymore? It used to be that you had to be in counseling or some serious management training to take that test. Then, only the counselor had the answers to unveil your true personality. Now, you answer a few questions on line and the computer tabulates your answers. But, the answer is still the same for me today as it was twenty years ago. INFJ, Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. Warm and caring, organized, able to juggle responsibilities, highly intuitive, creative, imaginative, nurturing and patient. Well, maybe not patient. Funny after all I have been through, my personality has not changed. How did I get from there to okra? Sometimes, I think I am such a different person since my MS diagnosis. I certainly look different. I get tired and need to rest. I am not as passionate about some things that used to wind me up. I have different hobbies and likes. I am trying to eat new foods and take better care of myself. But, inside I am the same. Just like the okra. I spent time trying to coat my diagnosis with pleasantries that pleased me as much as a corn meal dredged delicacy. I stewed in my own juices and worried about my future. I tried adding spice to life with different activities and ways of thinking. But, even though I have a new normal, I am still the old me. I am learning to be versatile, to think realistically not just positively, to make the most of every moment. And be the okra.