I am using my best china this year.
For some reason I can’t explain, there was never any occasion good enough for me to use them. I kept my sets of plates behind the door in my store.
I was cleaning out my store to make space for a new freezer. I had given up on the old freezer five years ago and even used it as a storage for things that I did not need in the immediate. I thought that one day I would open the freezer up and use those things. But when I opened the freezer, I told myself the truth.
I was never going to get round to using all the six new jugs and endless mugs. I was never going to find someone to fix the four water flasks that had gone bad. Truth be told, I had forgotten I had those things.
When I got to the cartons of plates, I just stood looking at them!
After our wedding 10 years ago, my younger sister had looked at the gifts, mostly sets of plates, stacked in my parent’s store and said the only way we were going to use all the plates was to break a plate after every meal.
I had a particular set of plates that we used at home. The same set for almost all of our marriage. Who was I keeping the good china for? I certainly wasn’t going to build a display for them. I hardly entertain guests because it is a pain in our tiny sitting room. Somewhere at the back of my head was the idea that when we finally move into our dream house, I was going to bring out befitting plates for a befitting house.
I don’t know if this happens to anyone but I find myself thinking that, I am working towards a life that I have always dreamt about. When I get to that point, I would then really start living. It is like holding your breath for the moment you have always waited for but you are not really holding your breath because you have to breathe.
So while I was saving my china for the life I hoped to live, I was actually living the life that I am living.
Then I felt ridiculous.
This really is it.
This is the life. Every seemingly dull and dreary second. Every high and low. The disappointments and the joys. In and out. In and out. Tick tock. Tick tock. Open a door. Close a door. Life was being lived.
What if this is it?
Why am I pausing, living and waiting, for a moment worthy to be lived in?
I tore into a carton and took out all the plates… the teacups and saucers and bowls and plates…everything. I washed them and I took away all our regular plates and stored them in the empty carton and took them to the store.
My children were surprised.
My husband said the plates were pretty.
I was pleased.
I will live while I live.
And I deserve the special china. Sitting in the corner of our living room that is the dining area and sipping tea from a pale yellow teacup, I savoured the moment. “This moment deserves the best I have,” I thought to myself.
So does every bite of every meal.
Every tiny sip of tea.
I celebrate now and the life of me.
And this moment is grand enough to be.
But it didn’t stop there.
I opened my suitcases and arranged all my clothes. I will wear all the clothes that are my size this year. I am not waiting for any special moments or days.
I will live while I live.
Things, things and so many things. Plates, plates and so many plates.
Things that I know will outlive me.
Because the calabash my mother gave me eight years ago is sitting in my kitchen cabinet four years after she died.
Life refuses to be regimented.
It will not be paused.
It will not patiently wait while you wait.
So live while you live.
Sip from the beautiful chalice while you breathe.
The journey is the destination.