Monday, February 14, 2011


happy valentine's day!

i hope you celebrate and appreciate today, not just for romantic love, but for love in all its forms.

not just for today's love, but for loves past.

not just for spoken love, but for love that needs no words.

not just for love's joys, but for love's priceless lessons.

not just love from others, but for love for yourself.

Monday, February 7, 2011

party of one

i'm a social person. i like hanging out with people. sharing experiences. having company. but i’ve also come to the point where i don't want my lack of company to hinder me from doing something i really want to do. like visiting a festival or a restaurant or a museum exhibit or any other interesting place. it seems silly to wait around for others to do certain things that i really want to do. and i’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that the experience of doing things on my own can sometimes turn out much better than one that's influenced by someone else and their preferences.

yesterday i had one of these moments. i had been craving diner food for most of the weekend and made a decision to visit ihop after church. my first intention was to find company, but when that wasn’t working out, i figured there was no reason why i couldn’t go to ihop alone.

sundays at ihop are always pretty crowded, and yesterday was no different. i made my way through the sea of people waiting for tables and approached the hostess with the waiting list.

i asked her how long the wait would be for one person. she told me less than 15 minutes, which i knew wouldn’t be bad, given that i had a book to read as i waited.

“name, sweetie?”


she wrote down my name and scratched a “1” in the box next to it.

as i turned to find a seat, a small part of me wished i could have been seated immediately, not to get to my food faster, but to avoid being the lonely-girl-sitting-in-ihop-by-herself-reading-a-book. amongst the families with restless kids and groups of friends, i wasn’t really blending in.

not long after my name was called, and i made my way to my table, my dad called. i told him i was in ihop, and he asked who i was there with.

“no one.”

he laughed and said, “i hear you!”

i proceeded to make him laugh some more by reenacting the waiting process. how because of the long list of groups, the names of the different parties were projected over the intercom…

“monica, party of six – monica, party of six.”

“smith, party of four – smith, party of four.”

“janet, party of five – janet, party of five.”

“jessica, party of one…jessica, party of one.”

we laughed some more about my love for food and my inheritance of his metabolism. i ordered. i read more of my book. i ate. i talked to a finicky gentleman in his 60’s who was sitting next to me (another “party of one”).

with a full stomach and a satiated appetite, i went up front and paid my bill. and as i turned from the counter and made my way to the door, the woman on the intercom called…

“jackson, party of two … jackson, party of two.”

and i thought about that. how that was the call i should have been responding to. not the one i responded to 40 minutes earlier. or maybe it's not "should have" but "would have." we would have woken up together. we would have gone to church. we would have gone to eat. we would have talked and laughed. there's more "would haves" than i care to count.

and i had to question if my theory about doing things by myself was still holding true. i questioned which was better -- "jessica, party of one" or "jackson, party of two"?

and the answer is neither. both are what they were and are. one might be more desirable, but it's also not possible. another might be more uncomfortable, but it's also my reality. what's been given to me. what i can make the best of.

so i'll just have to party of one.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

on writing

wow. january really flew by. this was largely due to a pretty demanding work schedule. one that required lots of writing and left me with little time or mental capacity to write here as well.

i’ve missed writing here.

i spoke to a widower a couple months ago, not long after his wife had died. we talked about his experience. my experience. Even how our spouses' names were similar. and i tried to give him one of the things that those of us who have experienced the untimely death of a spouse can share: a reassurance that he wasn’t the only person on earth experiencing tragedy on this level. there were more of us experiencing the ups and downs, the well-intentioned suffocating families, the lost identity, the physical pain, the words that fell short of bringing comfort.

he asked me if i found my writing on this blog to be helpful. i told him that in some respects, the writing does little for how i feel, because the things i write here only capture a fraction of my emotions and experiences. typically, for every entry i post, i think of two more topics that i may never write about.

but what i did realize and tell him was that writing helps me process a feeling. putting the feeling into words helps me more closely examine how i feel and what i’m going through. it doesn't make the feeling go away, but it helps me more effectively go through it. live through it. survive it. and once it’s out there, articulated in words, i can release it from my muddled brain.

so when i don’t write here, i miss it. i miss the release of it. i miss the going through. i miss confronting my grief and the reassurance that i’m feeling and living.

i’m hoping february brings more opportunities for me to be here.