“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.”

–Howard Thurman

I woke up at 3 in the morning, startled by how I felt.  Head throbbing, nose stuffed to the point where it was hard to breathe, and eyes streaming heavily like waterfalls.  I could hardly pick my head up off the pillow.

I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this terrible.

I napped during the day, but at some point my headache changed over from a symptom to one that meant I was hungry.  I didn’t have any food made, so I dragged myself out of bed—woozy and ill-feeling despite my nap—and began rifling through the fridge to figure out what I could make myself in a pinch.

I didn’t want the carrot salad or sautéed kale or scrambled eggs or even a quick smoothie.

I needed comfort food.  I wanted something cheesy and gooey.  I needed something soul satisfying.

What I found in the refrigerator: Cotswold cheddar (which is studded with chives), uncooked Italian sausages I’d bought the previous evening, some onions and red peppers.  Forty-five minutes later, I ended up with cheese grits topped with a hearty sausage ragu.

While I was preparing all of this, a documentary about bartenders and the craft of creating cocktails played on the TV.  As I chopped and stirred and sautéed, I was inspired to watch people so engaged and present in a vocation they love.

I lost myself as I cooked, caught up in the whir of activity to get myself fed. You’d think all of the activity would have made me fatigued, but I seemed to get more energy from the act of cooking.  I often forget how much I love it, how it feeds me, literally and figuratively.

I was as engrossed in my meal as I was with the movie, cheering on the people as they rose to new heights in their profession.  I ate my food as the movie ended, and I felt satisfied.

And then I made chocolate chip cookie dough. Between you and me, I may have also eaten some of the dough.  And it made me happy.

A funny thing happened once I finished my cooking binge.  I felt better.  While I still was sick, I wasn’t quite as downtrodden as I had been just an hour or two before.  Something had shifted.  It was as if doing something I love helped me turn a corner on the road back to health.

Maybe when you do the thing that brings you to life, you start to feel alive.

What a beautiful lesson.

xo, with goodness and grace.