Once upon a time there was a girl who had to prove that she was extraordinary. The queen felt it necessary to test her royal sensitivities by placing the smallest pea at the bottom of twenty mattresses. After all, a real princess would never be able to get a good night’s sleep in such bothersome conditions. The queen was incensed that the young girl tossed and turned through a torturous night because it ultimately proved her royal status. Back in the land of reality, there are plenty of reasons why lots of ladies aren’t getting the rest they are entitled to, but hardly any of it has to do with produce.
For some women, 2019 felt like wave after wave of disorientation, like being invited to the party but given nowhere to sit. Permanent smiles masked internal fear and dread because no one wants someone else’s life residue dragging down their cruising altitude. And as December bestowed her final days, the only global celebration that all of humanity can agree upon began to prepare for the revelry. But in the quiet corners, some of those same women held leftover crumbs of what life used to be. We can’t stop the cadence of time. Corks pop. Sparklers dazzle. And the brand new calendar is hung. Hundreds of blank squares line up like little soldiers begging to organize our deadlines and activities. But no matter how fresh and beautiful a new calendar may be, turning the page has no power to wash away some of the sorrow and disappointment that some experienced in 2019.
These women have every legitimate reason to feel discouraged. Business conditions changed. Their marriage is on life support. The job was lost. The kids have gone astray. The health report was a shock. They weren’t prepared to say goodbye. They feel obsolete, overworked, and overrun. They force themselves into sleep long before the ball drops for these very reasons. Nevertheless, on the first day of the year, these same ladies will dutifully make black eyed peas and greens because, after all, every little bit helps, right? What if black eyed peas and greens can really tip the scales in their favor for prosperity, peace, and joy in 2020?
This is the breakthrough moment. Though practically unnoticeable, these blips in our decisions are actually our core beliefs evolving into fundamental opinions that we use to shape the trajectory of our life. Life ultimately proves what we believe, because what we believe frames our decisions and our experiences. Black eyed peas and greens are a southern culinary tradition. But they also outwardly suggest that, despite the tragedies of 2019, we still expect and prepare for good things in 2020. Putting even the smallest scoop on our plate affirms our belief that we are worthy of everything we would dare to dream for the coming year. But if we’re still making peas, then we still have hope.
My New-Year’s-new-decade encouragement is especially for the downhearted sisters; the sisters who sidelined their champagne flutes and noisemakers to embrace the new year with a quiet presence and guarded optimism. We have all been there. Like you, I want to believe that every new year has every good thing waiting for me and those I love. There will be challenges, but I pray that those challenges will fail to overtake the power of optimism and perseverance. Which, by the way, is the same optimism and perseverance a princess had to have as she climbed a tower of twenty mattresses. Life put her to the test, too.
If the awareness of even the smallest pea can prove a royal title, then perhaps another pea has the power to confirm even the faintest hope for a great year.