Good Luck With That
In our personal lives and our business, we have the opportunity and need to tell our food allergy story, often. We live it from the inside out every meal, every day. This week, I heard the same response from four different people who I spoke with about our food allergy journey. “Good luck with that.”
It is the “that” which captured my attention and curiosity. When someone says, “good luck with that,” they are consciously or unconsciously distancing themselves from the pain that may be present for the storyteller. If there can be one major shift in the perception of food allergies that could help and serve the whole, it would be that those who do not have a food allergy find the compassion to know that it is partly their responsibility to keep the world safe.
The shift from “good luck with that” to “How can I help?” could tip the world from a place of fear to a place of belonging for the food allergy survivor. For to know that someone else “gets it” means to the allergy survivor that “they” will not bring an allergen near them to threaten their life.
My daughter once said when someone brings a nut into school for a snack, they might as well be bringing in a gun and pointing it at her. “Good luck with that” is hardly the response we could imagine if that were to occur.
Most people who are affected with a life threatening allergy to a food understand that it is hard for people to understand. We have learned to do what we need to do to keep ourselves safe and to lower our expectations of the ability of others to care for us in the way we need to be cared for. We hear often in restaurants, “Does the spinach salad have nuts or are there any nuts in the area where you prepare the salad?” “I don’t think so,” says the server. “Would you like the spinach salad?” “No,” we reply. “We would like you to assure us that there are no peanuts or tree nuts in the kitchen that could kill us.” This has happened so many times for us that we as a family do not eat at restaurants anymore. I speak just for us. We make what we eat for Lily. We take our good luck in our own hands. We become this. Not that.
We exercise our will and restraint. We grow in our skillful ability to pay attention and intention to enlightened self-interest. And we forgive everyone who hasn’t, will not and cannot understand. And by doing this, we become free from the separation of “Good luck with that” into the warming of the heart which transforms our food allergy into acceptance, happiness, love and wisdom… and “good luck” into “blessings.”
Father and Co-Founder
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