Yesterday at a Five Guys, N and I stopped in for the caloric splurge of a quintessentially good quality American burger, fries and a Coke. (Oddly enough, the best burger of my life so far was actually eaten at Start The Bus in England so my home country has no corner on delicious…my second runner up however is still in the USA and can be found at Moon Time in Coeur d’Alene, but those stories for another time).
Best burger locations:
M and N at Start The Bus, Bristol, England August 2009
Moon Time -Coeur d’Alene, Idaho http://wedonthaveone.com/moon-time/
I mention this meal here today as by its conclusion as so often happens, the stop ended up not being about the food at all, but rather the feeding of my soul and I found myself leaving the restaurant with a full heart and the tell tell sign of those amazing happy, healing tear tracks on my face.
When we entered the restaurant at a corner table there were three teenage boys. One of them so reminded me of one of my brothers that it caught the breath in my chest. Now for those who read here and do not know, in addition to my 4 biologically related sisters with our shared Danish genetic linage, I have 5 brothers who were adopted. My brothers all have diverse racial and cultural heritages which provided a beautiful expanded palate to my family with a rainbow of humanity in the house when I was growing up. The brother I mention here in particular had birth parents who were African American.
I grew up in an area that other than a local NBA star who lived in our neighborhood, was pretty much a wonder bread white picket fence version of America. With all the diversity my family provided, this gave me many experiences of standing out and being noticed growing up. It also gave me the opportunity to confront ignorance and prejudice in others at a young age.
Being the oldest of 9 at the time, the day after I turned 16 the first thing my mother did after taking me to get my driving license was a dance of celebration as she now had a second pair of hands to help with endless carpools and school transportation needs found in such a large family. With many of my younger siblings, I was not really an older sister, but more of a second mom.
Burned into my mind is one experience of taking my siblings to school and having this precious brother at about age 5 not want to get out of the car to go into to the building. Having a full schedule myself and needing to get somewhere else soon, it was a big time sacrifice to park the car and take him over to the swings and find out what was going on. As this precious little boy sat with his legs dangling in the swing next to mine, he started with his own little tributaries flowing down the gorgeous dark chubby cheeks of his face. With much coxing, he finally told me that he did not want to go in because that morning he had finally had enough and he shared that as the only full black kid at his school, he was being picked on for the color of his skin.
So fast forward all these years later and yesterday, at the burger joint the young man who looked so much like this brother was sitting with his two white friends, in a white filled restaurant, in the white filled suburb and just like that, seeing him I am taken back to my youth, to my family of origin. In a moment at 42 and I am that teenager again and right back on that swing as I struggle to access the wisdom, emotional support and communication skills for my little brother who needs help in a way that is well beyond my experience and young years. I remember that over and over just like this story, I faced so many truly hard, heart wrenching things as a young woman.
However, at the core, my tears came yesterday not in residual hurt from or self pity for my past, but from the joy I have in my life today as I reap the benefits of the unconditional love I learned to access from such poignant moments. My tears came as I remembered how ultimately it all boils down to the energetic signature of the choice of acting from love or fear that powers all here on this planet. The tears came yesterday as I have had the courage to choose love and as as a result what is sitting next to me now as a reward I reap from hard won wisdom gained? It made me ready to be with the precious proper British boy sitting eating a burger next to me in my now. The joy comes as I watch this English man beautifully deal with his American wife who can spontaneously tear up publicly over one of her national dishes.
All prejudice comes from the ignorance and pain fueled by fear. It is experienced in the external illusion of diversity and the feeling of separation we have being physically different from each other. However, each heart pumping to keep those physical bodies alive is made of the exact same matter. At our core, all hearts are exactly the same. The fuel that powered my heart yesterday was love in the form of a burger, my British boy and my beautiful black brother found a few tables over. Such gratitude for that.
At the burger joint I noticed that this amazing young man did not have the same full table in front of him as his friends did so I pretended that N and I were newbies when ordering at Five Guys and got each of us our own order of large fries. This gave me an excuse to go over to the table and ask if the young men wanted one of the orders. In return for sharing, I was rewarded with a show of three stunning sets of white teeth, one beautifully framed in a familiar gorgeous dark faced smile.
If you ever have been to Five Guys you will understand why this fry order guise worked. Don’t ever order their large fry unless you are massively hungry or have someone to share them with :).