Maybe a couple of years ago, I had this dream that involved an artichoke.  As I recall, my friend pointed out to me (in the dream) that I was a bit like the artichoke sitting in front of me – and perhaps I ought to be aware of that.  Sometimes it might be hard for people to get to know me, because I could be a bit prickly on the outside, but I was all soft and good on the inside.  That was the main gist of it.

So this has been a running inside joke between me and my friend (who appeared in the dream), and now you’re in on it.  Shh…  Anyway, this is probably true about me.  It is true about me.  It doesn’t sum me up – it’s not everything about me, but it’s a pretty good analogy.  I can be a bit prickly on the outside – I have some tough parts, but, I think, at least, that it’s worth getting to know me, as I have a lot to offer on the inside.

Now, if you’ve ever cooked artichokes, you know that it takes some time.  You can, if you’ve got a mind to, remove some of the prickly bits first, or you can skip the leaves altogether and just prepare the hearts (although there’s plenty of goodness in the leaves if you have the patience).  You can buy artichoke hearts all ready to go – and then you don’t have to deal with the prickly bits at all.

These days, I have to say, I’m feeling all full of the prickly bits.  I know that soft yummy heart is in there somewhere, but I’m just feeling all tough leaves and prickly edges.

Mutual of Omaha (the insurance company that processed Don’s life insurance and also paid out on his final short-term disability, so you’d think they’d know he died) has sent TWO  (so far) solicitations for Don to purchase more life insurance.  Since his death.  One of them was after I called and asked them to stop.  This doesn’t make me feel any softer.  It also doesn’t make me want to ever buy life insurance from them.

It’s not just the life insurance company.  Someone from the health insurance company (the one that still hasn’t paid the hospitals) called to talk to Don today.  Really?  Don was taking some calculus classes at NOVA, and they keep sending mail to him.  Even though I know I called someone there in June.  And AARP.  And credit card offers.  And charities.

I’m not angry at all of them.  I know that they can’t all know (not without me telling them) that Don has died, but it just keeps coming.  So I stay prickly.

I don’t really like when I’m like this.  I’d rather be the soft yummy center, but I don’t have a lot of reserves right now.

People keep asking me how I’m doing, and not just the folks who are being polite but don’t really care.  People keep asking, but I don’t entirely know how to answer.  I’m doing ok, I usually tell them.  I’m doing ok, because I am doing ok – under the circumstances, and for what’s to be expected, I’m ok.  But I know I’m more prickly than usual.  I don’t tolerate things as easily as normal.  Many things that would, in other times, just roll off, instead stick to all the little barbs.

The good thing is that people are being so patient with me.  I really appreciate that.  I don’t think I’m always expressing that.  I don’t think i’ve let everyone know.  So I’m doing that now.  I’m letting you know that I appreciate your patience.  Not like the drill-down phone menus when you’re on hold.  I really do appreciate your patience.  And I’ll be with you shortly.  No – wait, that’s a phone message.  I mean, I’m working on it.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of one of my prickly barbs, I’m sorry.  I’m doing my best.  The soft bits are here, I promise.  In the meantime, you just may want to get out some hollandaise sauce.

That’s my mite.  It’s all I’ve got.


One thought on “Artichokes

  1. Oh my goodness. This is me 14 years ago. I lost my sweet, wonderful Dave in an auto accident, and it took me quite some time to get the pricklies smoothed back down. I’m so thankful for patient friends too, and for the LORD’S leading through it all. I’m glad you have patient friends.


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