The Inner Heart of Allergies
Lily was so sad last Saturday.
It was supposed to have been a special family day. Lily had really wanted to see David Whyte, an insightful and inspiring poet, and we had planned a trip for all four of us to go up to Boulder to see him speak.
We were pleased that the venue was a Methodist Church because we assumed that there would be no eating in the church. We noted that there was a long lunch break as well as additional breaks in the all-day program.
Sitting in the pew, in the beautiful church, I heard the sound of a bar being taking out of a bag in the row behind me…that familiar crackle. Before I even turned around, I thought, “My God, this is gonna be nuts, and she’s gonna be nuts, and it’s over.”
There they were, two bars lying on the pew, and one being opened and eaten. You know the brand….so popular and so full of nuts.
Of course, Lily knew before I did because she has bionic hearing and x-ray vision that keep her safe…a fine-tuned skill that I am grateful for. This makes it very hard to be in your inner heart. Amazingly, somehow she balances it all.
Lily was lovely and tried to insist that the rest of us really needed this experience and should continue to enjoy it without her, but we were hours from home, and leaving her in the car with the keys for the day really was not an option. We took turns walking with her. My heart hurt that this allergy can sometimes be a thief…always a teacher…and then, often is a gift.
The next day, we went to a memorial service for a dear friend. It had never occurred to us that they would serve lunch, but as we entered the ballroom, pecan-walnut cookies from a favorite local caterer were everywhere.
We thought these two places were places where nuts wouldn’t be an issue. Yet two days in a row, two events that were meant to be heart-and-soul filling, were instead temporarily spirit-crushing disappointments for Lil. David Whyte’s entire talk was about the invitation of life. Two days in a row, Lily very much wanted to accept the invitation of life, and she couldn’t because of the limitations of the world. It is no one’s fault; nuts are great and good for most. It is a hard thing for our world to grasp that they are a serious life threat for others.
I realized that she doesn’t just carry the burden of keeping herself safe and alive. She also carries the emotional burden of not wanting the people who ordered the food to feel bad because avoiding nuts didn’t occur to them. (She left the memorial service quickly so they wouldn’t see her, wouldn’t realize why she couldn’t stay, wouldn’t have their day impacted). The same burden she carried the day before, when her family had to leave David Whyte.
She’s had her heart broken so many times. And even though I know that our pain is our growth, it is heartbreaking for me. And it’s a heartbreak that can’t be avoided, because there’s no cause, effect, consequence. No control. No “do a good job, be earnest, and things will work out.”
At Don’t Go Nuts, our real reason for being is to be part of this fellowship for all of Lily’s life. Yes, we make safe food, which in itself is so very important. But most of all, we need to share with you our seasons of life, which include the inner heart of allergies.
Mother and Co-Founder