This I Believe

Michael - Fort Lee, New Jersey
Entered on May 17, 2006

Life is a Bag of Frozen Peas

A few weeks after my first wife, Georgia, was called to heaven, I was cooking

dinner for my son and myself. For a vegetable, I decided on frozen peas. As I was cutting

open the bag, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor. The peas, like marbles,

rolled everywhere. I tried to use a broom, but with each swipe the peas rolled across the

kitchen, bounced off the wall on the other side and rolled in another direction.

My mental state at the time was fragile. Losing a spouse is an unbearable pain. I

got on my hands and knees and pulled them into a pile to dispose of. I was half laughing

and half crying as I collected them. I could see the humor in what happened, but it doesn’t

take much for a person dealing with grief to break down.

For the next week, every time I was in the kitchen, I would find a pea that had

escaped my first cleanup. In a corner, behind a table leg, in the frays at the end of a mat,

or hidden under a heater, they kept turning up. Eight months later I pulled out the

refrigerator to clean, and found a dozen or so petrified peas hidden underneath.

At the time I found those few remaining peas, I was in a new relationship with a

wonderful woman I met in a widow/widower support group. After we married, I was

reminded of those peas under the refrigerator. I realized my life had been like that bag

of frozen peas. It had shattered. My wife was gone. I was in a new city with a busy job

and a son having trouble adjusting to his new surroundings and the loss of his mother. I

was a wreck. I was a bag of spilled, frozen peas. My life had come apart and scattered.

When life gets you down; when everything you know comes apart; when you

think you can never get through the tough times, remember, it is just a bag of scattered,

frozen peas. The peas can be collected and life will move on. You will find all the peas.

First the easy peas come together in a pile. You pick them up and start to move

on. Later you will find the bigger and harder to find peas. When you pull all the peas

together, life will be whole again.

I believe the life you know today, can be scattered at any time. You will move on,

but how fast you collect your peas depends on the you. Will you keep scattering them

around with a broom, or will you pick them up one-by-one and put your life back

together?

How will you collect your peas?