Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seeing the umiboshi on your own back...

(Another Fruits Basket reference post - see previous post, Overcoming the Curse of Human nature if you are confused)

This Father's Day I had a wonderful gift from my Father. Even though I had woken up with a sore throat and almost no voice, I went to church. I got to play with my one year old friend, listen to a church concert (when I wasn't chasing said one year old friend around outside) and watch "Sensei" at his best as he performed at the concert.

Then it was home for a wardrobe change to get ready for the Band's concert. Now I hadn't seen the band for over three months. This is a big deal. Much bigger than normal. Much thought had to be put into what I was going to wear. (In the end, I ended up casual in just a T-shirt and jeans. Took about 45 mins and lots of help from a roommate to get to that point.) I was complimented however, but that's probably just because my new haircut is rather cute.

I had tried to mentally prepare myself for the band, after not seeing them for so long, it's easy to get really high expectations and then be disappointed. But I wasn't disappointed at all. It was another day where I was reminded how much I love them and am loved by them (this includes the fan culture as well.) Seeing people after what felt like such a long time was wonderful. And they played my favorite song. And I was even given a present (the coveted staff pass worn by band members and staff members) by one of the band members. I didn't even ask for it! :-D

It was a good day of affirmation for me. My Father blesses me greatly.

But it kinda makes you wonder, what do you give God for Father's day?

Unfortunately due to my lack of voice I wasn't able to call my own father on Father's day. I will however get to see him in person soon. I'm in the process of getting my tickets for a long overdue trip to America to visit my family. (It's been 3 years I'm guessing) I'm really looking forward to that.

So in spite of all this affirmation, why do I still need to battle feelings of not being good enough?

I like how the issue was addressed in the aforementioned Fruits Basket.

The main character Tohru was teased as a child. When all the other children played the game Fruit Basket they would tell her she was an onigiri "rice ball." This of course means she can't play the game, since onigiri would not be a fruit. So she would wait to be called so she could play, but was never included in the game. In the series she is often represented as a rice ball.

In Japan one of the most common rice ball types is umiboshi (pickled plum). I'm not a fan, but it is quite popular. You just make a ball (or triangle) of white rice, with the red pickled plum in the center. It's a nice simple design.

So Tohru was distressed because the other two main characters seemed to be jealous of each other, each seeing the others good points, and his own bad points. So they were constantly fighting. One day, it dawned on her that they were unable to see their own good points, so all they had was jealousy. And so she thought about how rice balls have the umiboshi in them. But if the rice ball (aka person) looks at himself, and only see's white rice, he will think he is nothing but rice. Not special at all. And everywhere he looks around him, he can see other rice balls with wonderful umiboshi's on them. And so he believes himself to be inferior. But she wonders, what if the umiboshi is on the back? Then then rice ball is unable to see his own wonderful umiboshi. (Umiboshi represents the person's good points) Each person has a different shape, size, flavor, color, but they all have one. But you can't see your own because it's on your back.

I really like how she came to that conclusion. It's easy for me to fall prey to low self-esteem. It's easy to believe that I am nothing but white rice. Somewhat useful, but not terribly appealing. (They do sell only white rice onigiri, they are the cheapest you can buy.) And it's even easier to believe, because it feels like I'm still sitting on the shelf, waiting to be bought.

I struggle with being single. I know I'm not the only one. And I know that my self-worth should not be based on if I am in a relationship or not. But knowing in my head, and knowing in my heart are as far away as the east is from the west. My heart can't hear what my head is saying. It doesn't believe.

When I see my friends getting married, getting engaged, having children, I'm happy for them. I really am. But there's always that small voice inside... crying because I'm still on the shelf. They have entered a world that I don't know about. I can no longer relate to their struggles or their joys. When I hear or see the wonderful men in my wonderful friend's lives say something terribly sweet, like "I'm a better man because of her." I smile, because it's wonderful to hear such loving words and have hope, and I cry, because I look down and see only plain rice, and can't imagine being enough to change a man so he would say the same of me. I see my friend's umiboshi, but not my own.

And I feel shame for making everything about me again.

But God never leaves me or forsakes me. Fortunately He reminds me that I have value, even when I am single. He provides people for me to love, and a place for me to love and be loved. There are children to throw up in the air, there are people who smile with joy when they see me after a long absence. There are people who can see my umiboshi. And even if I can't see it myself, I can believe that it is there. And maybe one day there will be someone who can tell me what it looks like.

So I treasure up the affirmations in my heart, using them as a shield against the fears that want me to believe I am not enough. My Father blesses me. Therefore I am greatly blessed.

Remembering helps conquer the fears. My Father helps comfort my soul.

And my friends help me remember that we often act like two year olds watching God hand out candy, waiting for our piece, not really understanding what patience really is.

So maybe I can be patient just a little longer. Until my poor two year-old like brain short circuits again and God has to patiently remind me to Trust Him.

"My grace is sufficient for you. And you know this because I love you."

One more treasure for my heart. One more sparkle for the umiboshi hidden on my back.

God is good even when I cannot see.

So today I smile in faith, choosing to believe and not doubt.

(Tomorrow is always a different story. Two year old brain and all that...) ;-)

But today is... Good.

1 comment:

Pearl said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog, but I find it fascinating, thank you :)