It’s snowing all day trapping everyone inside. I can only stay indoor for so long so I braved the snow for a walk. When the weather is nasty, go to the playground. Your privacy is guaranteed. If it is raining outside, snow storm is sweeping through the town, or below 30 degrees, I can easily be found in the playground standing on top of a slide.
Driven by the need of deep solitude, I am walking towards the playground. The snow is now mixed with rain, wetting the ground. I see the stream of water gently flowing down, leading me on my chilly walk down to the playground at the bottom of the low hill. I accidentally step into the puddle, and soon, I feel the water steeping through my running shoes. My feet got wet. I am wet from top to bottom, my hair, my face, my hands, and now my feet. I look like a wet mouse desperately seeking to take cover. But I am not looking for a dry hole. I am looking for something more ethereal than that.
When it’s cold outside, snowing and raining all at once, you are wet and shivering, feeling alone and solitary, it’s the best opportunity to pray. Just look up at the grey sky, brave the falling snow and rain, and open your eyes up to the heaven and pray. “Pour down Your grace, Lord, Your special grace upon me.” Just ask and believe that you shall receive. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s how biochemical I am. If my blood sugar level crashes, my mood goes crashing down fast with it. It’s a sudden attack, and if I don’t take cover quick enough I will face a very embarrassing moment. I panic.
This happens so many times, but every time, I am fooled into believing that my sudden sadness, anxiety, or even fear signal the onset of my depressive episode. When the tears I tried to suppress all morning finally outweighed my ability to control, I could not help but let them come. It would have been okay, even a healthy thing to do, if I weren’t at work.
So I asked for a break, and drank a hot chocolate with only one pump of mocha sauce. I know all I need is some sugar. Just a little sugar will save me for the time being.
When it was just my body lacking the necessary sugar that was contributing to my sudden dark mood, I was contemplating whether I had made a mistake in choosing this job all morning. I am not even good at this position. Yesterday, I forgot to put syrup in a regular customer’s drink and made him make the same trip twice because of my fault. He had already picked up the milk jug for me on his first trip to the cafe. I meant to throw it into the trash can, but disastrously failed, and the empty jug fell a few inches from him. Then today, a customer came back wondering why her latte tastes so weak. It turns out that the espresso shots were not calibrated right. As a result, the machine was pulling the espresso in half the time it normally takes. The problem is: I had been doing this roughly for the last four years, and yet, I could not catch the issue. I should have known. By the way the color of the shots look, by the speed the shots were pulling. I had all morning to figure that out. I throw bad shots, I pull bad shots. Can I do anything right? Anything at all?
Buried in my own dark thoughts and confusion, I picture myself quitting my job. Am I wasting my time here? Making all these coffees that I myself don’t even care to drink anymore? I was facing my chronic temptation of letting go of this job that I love and hate at the same time. This job is so intense, so fun, so discouraging, and so burdensome. This job and I, we are having one bad marriage.
I take a few sips of my semi-sweet hot chocolate. I can feel the sugar working its magic in me already. My nervous and anxious condition quickly vanished, and I could feel that I was back to myself. My calm, peaceful, centered, care-free self was back as my eyes were registering the words of St. Francis of Assisi on my Nook.
“No one ought to consider himself a true servant of God who is not tried by many temptations and trials. Temptations overcome are a sort of betrothal ring God gave the soul.”
I am not tempted by sugar. I don’t crave sweats. Instead, I have to force sugar into my system, into this biochemical body of mine so that my mood doesn’t crash beyond my control. It’s probably a good habit -as long as I don’t go too extreme, that is- considering that we have diabetes running in the family.
What tempts me is my job. I want to quit this job every day. I am always half in, half out, a very difficult place to be. It’s so hard to force myself to go out there, to such a public place. I meet hundreds of people, and there are day when I don’t think I can deal with even a single person, like today. Though, it was only because I was lacking some sugar in my blood.
But was it all that I was lacking? Wasn’t it perhaps that my love for God, my desire to serve Him was not enough? I was not being a true servant of God this morning. So with the help of some sugar, and some wise advice of St. Francis, I go back to work after correcting my chemical balance, and my thought patterns. I know I have overcome another temptation, however small it was.
Later that afternoon, I am walking in the snow and rain to the playground, praying inside. I look up at the grey sky and I feel the cold wet drops falling on my face. I say, ‘Pour down Your grace, Lord, Your special grace upon me.’
I am well aware of the fact that I am asking for a very special grace indeed. I am asking for a betrothal ring for my soul.