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Finding Where We Matter and Maple Cumin Sweet Potatoes

It’s funny the things that trigger our emotions.

One moment Bear and I were cozy in the living room watching an interesting documentary on the Ice Age and the next I had paused the DVD, tears streaming down my face as I turned to a very startled Bear and said, “We don’t really matter, do we?”

(Feel free to feel sorry for Bear at this point. I’m afraid my trains of thought tend to stun him on a regular basis. :-))

In fairness to my overwrought self, this pronouncement had been building for quite some time. Losing a dear friend, cousin, and grandparents in a very short period of time had given rise to feelings of, “What is the point of this life? What’s the purpose of living if we just die and within a few years are forgotten?”

It all felt so very short and so very sad.

Thus, on that cozy night, as I watched stories of people that lived and died thousands of years ago, I found myself mourning them. Mourning the fact that we don’t even know their names, have no idea what they believed or thought of the world, how they loved and cared for their children, not even what language they spoke. What did they do, think, feel? We don’t know.

It felt like they didn’t matter.
It felt like the people I had loved didn’t matter.
It felt like one day, I wouldn’t matter either.

Once Bear recovered from his shock, we talked it over. He listened as I spilled out all those deep fears and doubts and questions. We talked about famous people and obscure ones, people we loved and those we’d lost, people who’d already died and the ones still to be born. We talked about them, their beliefs and experiences, the foods they might have eaten and clothes they’d worn. The crafts they’d done and work they’d accomplished and people they’d loved and fears they’d had. Their comforts and joys, hopes and failures, griefs and soul-surging happinesses.

Then Bear said something I shall treasure forever.

“Babe, we do matter. We matter in our own time and to our own people.”

In those words I found my peace and my comfort and also, somehow, my connection to all those who have gone before and will come after.

We do matter. We ALL matter. From the cave men who made clothing out of fur and leather and painted pictures on rocks to my beloveds who aren’t in this life anymore but who live so vividly in my memories and thoughts.

We do matter. We matter to our own people – the people who love us, whose lives are better because we are in them, the people whose very names make us smile. And we matter in our own time, this time, this very day.

That moment of grief and apparent hopelessness was transformed into a treasure for me, and the ramifications continue to ripple through my thoughts and spirit.

I don’t feel anger about my past anymore. Although the bad things people did to me are still bad, my anger towards the perpetrators has dissolved. And I’m so thankful for that. They may have done cruel and abusive things, but they matter too. And I earnestly wish them real love and healing of their own wounds.

I feel greater contentment and gratitude. I think this society of ours often pressures us into feeling like we need to be amazing in order to matter. It’s lovely to know that we don’t. We can be poor and in debt and still matter. We can be overweight and have messy houses and still matter. We can have crazy relatives and whacked up children and still matter. We can be chronically ill and mess up regularly and still matter. We can just be our plain ol’ lovely selves and matter enormously.

I feel more purposeful. My days are more precious to me now, but not in the way I expected. I don’t feel driven to fill each day with experiences, don’t feel compelled to “not waste a minute!” If anything, I’ve actually relaxed more. This is My Time to Matter, and I want to live it, not with greater accomplishments but with greater awareness, greater enjoyment, and greater love. I’m trying to live more “in the moment” rather than in a “cross this off the list” manner. It’s been lovely. Cooking, chores, exercising, making things – they all become so much more enjoyable when I focus on enjoying them rather than completing them.

Perhaps the biggest change is I’m not afraid of death anymore. I dearly hope there is a heaven where all of humanity will be together in peace and restoration and healing and love, but if there isn’t, it’s OK. I feel so lucky to have lived, to have known love and friendship, to have eaten dark chocolate and ripe tomatoes and fresh peas, to have felt sun on my skin and wind in my hair and splashed in water and fallen in snow. So, so lucky.

Wishing you a beautiful day, dear Mattering Ones, a day of good food and good company and the sure knowledge that you matter.

XO

Maple Cumin Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
salt
1/4 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
2 Tbsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place sweet potato chunks in saucepan and cover with water. Add salt and bring to boil. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until potato mashes easily when pressed with a fork.
  2. Drain and return to pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mash well.
  4. Serve hot.
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Krista - I’m so glad I’m not the only one who wonders these things, @lindytaylor:disqus 🙂 Really looking forward to seeing you for a good visit soon. 🙂 XO

Lindy Taylor - Wonderful article & photos Krista. I often wonder..why..what for.. how did we evolve?

Then you add a delicious recipe of comfort food.

I think Matter=Energy= Life

PS: Bear is a wise man.

Krista - You have summed it up beautifully, @4051406338aaef5dd8bf9775f8ab662d:disqus : “Enjoy a good life.” That encapsulates everything. 🙂

Krista - You do the same thing for me, dear @0fc123c6eec7f205cb5913bb6aee9b4f:disqus 🙂 I love your posts and your photos and your updates for you always inspire me to be grateful and anticipate goodness. XO

Krista - Hi Suzanne!! It’s so lovely to see you here. You totally made my day. 🙂 xo

Krista - I am thrilled too, dear Ozoz. He’s such a treasure to me. 🙂 XO

Krista - He sure is, @inspiringtravellers:disqus 🙂 It is a comfort to know we DO matter, isn’t it?

Velva-Tomatoes on the Vine - At the end of the day, we do the best that we can to enjoy a good life. Bad things do indeed happen to good people, what is important is that it does not define us.

Ayelet - All Colores - I love sweet potatoes! What a blessing to be able to have these conversations, to process these feelings, to write about it, to be in acceptance and focusing on the present moment. I like your attitude, your blog always makes me feel like filling life with even more joy and focus on the little things that turn out to be the big things that count. You matter a lot.

Andrea and John - You have a great big heart, Krista! Of course we matter — Bear is very wise =)

Kitchen Butterfly - Simple….but profound. We matter Krista, even when its hard to believe how. I’m thrilled you have bear.

Stay well dear

Suzanne Walcher - Hello, lovely Happify friend!
Love, love this post.
You are right on every count.
And your photos are stunning.
Looking forward to counting
blessings with you!

Happy Thursday,
xo Suzanne

Krista - XOXO I feel the same way about you, dear @margowrites:disqus I’m SO glad you’re in my life!!! You are right about those things being so closely related. So right. And I will need to think on that some more. 🙂 XO

Krista - He sure does, @joanneeatswellwithothers:disqus , I love him to pieces. 🙂

Krista - “flesh on our bones and life to our spirit” – how I LOVE that, dear @62001814d9d7e41ffc94251e56fa448f:disqus 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how the experiences and joys of others can mean so much to us to? I don’t understand it, but I sure am grateful. 🙂 XO

Krista - It is the most precious feeling and assurance, dearest @37854c7777b9b21d0ae36d3aa8184779:disqus XO

Krista - Big hugs to you, @a1d00aea3bb8ff7d8a85322c6ff171a6:disqus XO Wishing you some true dear friends in your life who will stand by you no matter what. I’m SO glad you have your pups. They are so comforting, aren’t they?

Margo Millure - Doh,you matter. I for one, don’t know what I’d have done without you the past year or two. Feeling small and unimportant, and feeling large and “mattering” are actually very closely related.

jacquie - thank you for your kind words. I so wish I had someone else to help but I don’t. though my pups do help and i don’t know what i will do when they pass (one is 12). and yes it is a daily and sometimes hourly struggle for me to. wishing you strength, courage and continued healing also. X0

Joanne (eats well with others) - Bear definitely knows the right things to say. I love that quote of his.

And I love these sweet potatoes. So very much.

thefisherlady - my dear sweet Rambling Tart… I sit here cryin’ a wee flood… what a marvelous post! Your thoughts, your discoveries, your longings, your acceptance… your friend bear~
you matter very much to me as well I am sure to all the many along your way. Touching the experiences of others keeps flesh on our bones and life to our spirit. I received a lovely calligraphied card in an envelope from my mother-in-law this week. so simple… so perfect…
~The Life we live ~ is our Gift to God.
————-
you have discovered so much beauty~ he made it all for our enjoyment because… we matter <3
blessings dear friend

Mozzie - 🙂 Lovely and wonderful that we matter so very much during the time we are here for nothing more than being us.

Krista - He sure is, @a1d00aea3bb8ff7d8a85322c6ff171a6:disqus 🙂 I’m so thankful for him. Moving beyond the damage and pain is a daily, sometimes hourly, struggle for me. Some days it feels like it will crush me completely and I’ll never get up again. But somehow, I always do. Those moments when I just can’t believe I have value or worth, I ask Bear or someone else close to me to remind me. I know I’m not always strong enough, and I’m learning to get strength from others during those moments. I’m so deeply sorry you’ve been through such crushing things too. XO I could cry with you. It just doesn’t seem fair that not only were the bullies able to abuse us in the past, but their brainwashing continues to cripple us now. It is so hard, so terribly hard to heal and retrain our thinking and beliefs. I post things around my house to remind me: “You are loved.” “You are strong.” “Don’t be afraid of…” “You are not in danger any more.” “You are safe now.” “They can never hurt you again.” Things like that. I NEED that constant reminder. For me, there is no other way to undo what has been done. Wishing you strength and courage and deep healing from all the awfulness you’ve been through. If you ever need to talk, I’m here. XO

Krista - That doesn’t sound crazy at ALL, dearest @katyabroad:disqus ! I identify with that so much. Strange how knowing we are “just” a small part of this world can be a comfort, but it is. Somehow it takes the pressure off and allows us to rest. I love that. 🙂 xo

Krista - We DO, @OrgasmicChef:disqus 🙂 And how glad I am of that. 🙂

Krista - It would be an unbearable burden, wouldn’t it, @SevenGreySweaters:disqus ? I’m so glad I can honor humanity in general and focus on the people who are in my life NOW. 🙂 You are so welcome for the recipe. I adore cumin too. I love your idea of the carrots! Yum!! 🙂 I think I will try it tonight. 🙂

Krista - I’m so glad your Hubs is a rock for you too, @twitter-178266953:disqus 🙂 I am well, my friend, and so thankful for people like you who inspire me. 🙂

Krista - Thank you, dear @wanderingsheila:disqus . I thought of you as I wrote it, feeling this was your heart too. xo

Krista - I love you too, my dear @facebook-100001665607063:disqus XO So thankful you’re in my life. You ALWAYS make me feel like I matter. XO

Krista - Thanks, @twitter-82747769:disqus 🙂 It’s my favorite way to make them now. 🙂

Krista - Thank you, dear @twitter-383932800:disqus xo

jacquie - oh that Bear he is a wise man is he not? thank you for sharing this – it is beautiful. I do love and admire your courage, your compassion and your willingness to still engage. how do you do it? how did you get beyond the abuse and the PTSD? I can’t seem to. and I don’t think the people who did are “bad” they are just who they are. but I can’t seem to get beyond the damage – to feel it is ok for me to stand and breathe and do anything for me. I can’t – it has been drilled into me since day 1 that I don’t matter and no matter what I do or how hard I try it will simply not amount to anything or be good enough. you have had a hard path and have come so far – as I said I admire you for that – for being able to live in the day and put down all the lists – it is so wonderful and refreshing to hear you speak about your life now. you do matter. enjoy the days you now own for yourself. blessings to you.

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - Yes, you matter. We all matter. Changing even one of us will make a difference in the world.

Your maple cumin sweet potatoes sound wonderful!

katyabroad - I just bought some sweet potatoes, so I am going to try this recipe – it sounds so good! It’s crazy, but sometimes I find a very deep solace in looking at mountains or stars and thinking ‘all of this stuff going on in my life doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things.’ It somehow allows me to let go of anything bad and just feel free. Does that make any kind of sense?! Of course we all matter, and you have put it so eloquently, but sometimes the sense that there is a lot that has been and a lot that will be and our lives are just a miniscule part of the whole fabric of it kinda puts things in perspective.

Amy @ Seven Grey Sweaters - Thanks for sharing this wonderful story, Krista! It definitely made me pause and think about what a burden it would be if we had to bear the weight of honoring EVERYONE who came before us. I’m appreciating the lightness of knowing that I matter right now, and then it will be my turn to fade away and others’ turn to matter. (That’s some weighty thinking for a Monday!) And thanks for the recipe! I’m loving cumin on everything these days, but hadn’t thought to try it on sweet potatoes. (If you’re ever in the mood for it, try roasting carrots with cumin and olive oil, and garnish with a squeeze of lemon and some avocado. So delish on a chilly evening!)

Vannessa@Luxuria - Love the recipe (which is noted). I know what you mean about your little meltdown. I go through the same thing every now and then. Like Bear my Hubs is a m
a man of few words, but in moments like this he really comes into his own. Thank God for having these types of people in our life who can help us pick ourselves
up and dust ourselves down. Those meltdowns makes me appreciate what I do have even more.
Hope you are well Sweets xx

Cathy - A beautiful post from a kind, beautiful lady who matters. Thanks Krista 🙂

Lindsay Hogg - mmm sounds delish

Breanne Mosher - Amen. I love you. Your name makes me smile. The mere mention of Oz makes me happy. And I’m so glad you are in my life.

Judith Works - Lovely photos, lovely sentiment and lovely recipe

Krista - I’m so glad you’re in my life too, @twitter-573229826:disqus XO You inspire and comfort me and I’m so honored to know you. 🙂

Classical Quest - “This is My Time to Matter, and I want to live it, not with greater accomplishments but with greater awareness, greater enjoyment, and greater love.”

Such a beautiful, rich, and vulnerable post. I glad that our lives crossed for a brief time in our young lives because you matter to me!

Krista - I am so excited to hear that, @google-01bbdd9fc7f53cd54265810538a0c5c5:disqus ! 🙂 I can’t wait to see the new images you capture from your travels. 🙂

Ken Powell - You are amazing. Krista. Here’s a little thought for you – your photos are setting such a high standard that I am out to try to emulate your work. It won’t be the photos I took last year in ‘point and shoot’ mode. Time to think about each frame.

Krista - Can’t tell at all! 😉 I’m glad it reminds you of such a gorgeous place. 🙂

Krista - I hope you like the sweet potatoes, @twitter-372728890:disqus 🙂 They are my new favorite way to make them. 🙂 It IS amazing how our guys say just the right thing to help us. 🙂 Savoring is so good and sometimes so hard, isn’t it? I’m working on it too. 🙂

Budgettraveltalk - I just remembered that I wanted to say how much your first photo reminds me of a coral reef and the bark of the ocean waves. You can’t half tell I have just returned from a tropical island can you?

Budgettraveltalk - OK Sweet Potatoes are on the shopping list. Our partner’s can really hit the nail on the head with one sentence. That is so wonderful. My husband has done it a couple of times. And it stuns me. It can make a hopeless situation suddenly seem surmountable. Good on Bear. And good on you for listening. I agree that living in the moment is a big relief. Most times I am planning our next trip and wishing I was on it. But when it seems too far away, I relax and photograph the flowers, enjoy food, savour a coffee, connect with other bloggers and realize how darned enjoyable living is.

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