Last night I had a dish that I have not had in thirty-six years. It took my brother's inquiry to remind me of a high school dish and memories. Once a month, we used to go to a special restaurant for a great meal in the upstairs dining area. Given the fluorescent lighting, benches, and flooring, I doubt it was expensive. The tables would fill with school chums bubbling over with conversations and we would eagerly grab our plates, all filled with the same dish – murtabak.
I wake with the dawn flooding the hills. The green terraced rice fields and wispy clouds dance with each other, each invoking memories that I have not requested. I see people I have not thought about for decades. The events tucked away in the corner of my mind reappear and emotions well up from within. I find myself unable to see except through lenses of love, compassion, and mercy.
I do not recall what murtabak tasted like then. I do know that we used to drown it with catsup because it made it taste better. I cannot recall the angst and anger of high school, though I do remember that I was often frustrated and willing to fight for my perspective. I know there were tears, far too many, yet they find no home in what I can remember.
I remember the beauty of a dawn with a friend on a beach in Mersing. We were exploring the morning light, hopeful that we cold capture it on film. I do call the joy of drinking fresh orange juice by the post office, that it trumped the day's heat and humidity. I do remember the stillness of Mac Ritchie Reservoir in the emerging morning light. It was broken by the sound of wordless young men out for a forced morning run.
Each memory opens up a window for today.
“He led them out of their slavery. He did wonderful things, setting up God-signs all through Egypt, down at the Red Sea, and out in the wilderness for forty years.” (Acts 7.36)
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