A while ago, I received a call out of the blue from Ted. If you recall from this post, Ted is an old friend of mine, a mentally disordered guy with whom I used to do bible study. He was also a key factor in yanking me away from my eating disorder to true recovery.
It had been months since I last was in contact with him, so I was both pleased and surprised to hear from him. But after a few minutes of conversation, I quickly became incredibly discouraged and dejected. Ted…seemed to have relapsed back into his old disordered ways.
Ted was straight to the point. “I’m not doing well, Sophia,” he told me. “I broke down once and bashed my parents’ door to bits. They had to call the police. I think everyone is staring at me, and trying to seduce me. They keep trying to manipulate me. My therapist is ignoring me. I called her 30 times and she didn’t answer…”
My smile turned down as he related his problems and anxieties to me, and pretty soon I was wearing a frustrated frown. I quickly interrupted Ted, and in an exasperated tone, bluntly told him that he was being deceived by his disordered thoughts again. I preached for a full 15 minutes or so. And then I stopped, because I suddenly realized that Ted wasn’t responding.
“Hello? You listening, Ted?” I asked.
“Yes,” Ted replied.
Silence. I started to feel uneasy.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“No, Sophia…” Ted said. “When I called you, I didn’t want a lecture. I didn’t want a preacher. I just wanted a friend. I’m all alone, Sophia. I don’t have anyone to turn to. I just wanted to talk. I just…wanted a friend who cares.”
It was like a slap in the face. My face flushed at once, and I wanted to kick myself. Of course. What was I thinking, lecturing about what’s right and what’s wrong to Ted?
I remembered the time when I was really struggling with my eating disorder: so many people came up to me trying to persuade me. Trying to teach me. Pretending to understand, when they didn’t. Because if they did, they would have known that what I really needed then, was love and care and compassion. And this was exactly what Ted needed, too.
“I’m sorry, Ted,” I said. “Let’s start over. Tell me what’s bothering you.”
Thus Ted reiterated all his problems to me—all of his crazy, ridiculous, irrational thoughts and anxieties. And I listened. But this time, I kept my judgments out of the way. I forgot about what was “right” and what was “wrong”. I just listened. As someone who may not completely understand, but one who is trying to be an equal, a friend, a person who cares. And in the meantime, I kept praying, and asking God to give me the wisdom to say the right thing.
Of course, after Ted was done, I still had to share a few of my opinions and perceptions. But this time, I did not belittle him, but simply shared my point of view in the gentlest way possible.
The difference in Ted’s reaction was amazing, and in short, absolutely rewarding. It was like my little flicker of compassion lit a light bulb in his head, and he was like a kid who just figured out a math problem. “Oh wow,” Ted exclaimed. “I never thought of it that way. Thank you, Sophia. I think I understand now. You made it so clear to me.”
Our interaction was only about 30 to 40 minutes. But the impression of our conversation left a deep inscription in me. I once again learned a huge lesson when it comes to friends who come to me with problems: Be a friend. Listen as a friend. Act as a friend. Care as a friend. Sometimes, the right things to say may not be as evident. At times like this, even a simple hug, or crying together…that helps. Because when we’re down, all we really need…is to feel loved and understood.
Not the biggest revelation, but it’s something that I need to be reminded of from time to time. Sometimes, it really doesn’t take much to make a person feel better. I’m glad that even though I was all the way across the country, Ted could still find a friend in me.
This made me realize that I’m also incredibly blessed, because I receive so much random acts of friendships from time to time, too. In fact, Mara from What’s For Dinner gave me just that. When I expressed an interest in a Singaporean spice she used in one of her dishes, she immediately offered to send me one:
Yeah, one. More like a whole rack of spices! Mara sent me not just the Singaporean spice, but ground Galangal, Cajun seasoning, and Sate seasoning from Penzey’s Spices. I was so freaking touched by her generosity and kindness! Mara, you seriously rock ass!
“Singaporean Pineapple Fried Rice” Grits
The “Pineapple Fried Rice” part:
- olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- Mara’s Singapore spice
- a few green olives, diced
- about 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
- about 1 cup of Quorn grounds (will explain it later)
- small bunch of mung bean sprouts
- a handful of raisins
- chicken broth
The “grits” part:
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 onion, diced
- Mara’s Singapore spice
- 1/2 cup yellow grits
- 1 cup almond milk
- about 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 heaping spoonful cream cheese
- handful of green onions, diced
- handful of pork floss (I’ll explain this later too)
Heat up oil in a pan. Toss in the garlic and onions, fry for a minute or so. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and season to taste with the Singapore spice. If the mixture gets dry, add in a few drops of chicken broth, simmer for awhile until it’s dry and cooked.
Check it out…new pan!!
I won it at the lovely Christine’s giveaway! It’s my baby now. (So are my new spices. I have a lot of babies now).
Meanwhile, in another pot, cook onions and garlic in some chicken broth until softened. Add in grits, almond milk, and chicken broth. Season with spices. When the grits are cooked, stir in the cream cheese until creamy and combined.
To serve, ladle the grits into a dish. Top with the “pineapple fried” stuff. Sprinkle with green onions and pork floss.
Okay, about the Quorn grounds. You can basically use any ground meat, like pork or beef. But I decided to kill two birds in one stone by trying out the Quorn grounds I got from Quorn company.
I think it tasted okay. Certainly better than a lot of “meat” I’ve tried. But just not as good a real ground beef. The neat thing, once again, was that it needed no thawing. Just pop out of the freezer and use. So convenient. Check out my review on their other product, the Chik’n Nugget.
The next mystery ingredient, the fabulous pork floss:
Susan said it looked like lint the last time I featured it. LOL! Maybe, but trust me, it is the most fantastic stuff ever. It’s a Chinese ingredient, usually used over rice porridge, or congee or jook. But in Singapore, the pineapple fried rice always comes served in a hollowed out pineapple, and sprinkled with liberal amounts of pork floss.
It’s glorious. Basically, it’s dried pork, shredded to look like this:
Nutritionally, it’s not exactly the next Superfood. But it’s pretty pure protein, just uh…with a few preservatives and MSG. But hey, a little goes a long way, and I’ve been eating this stuff since I was little, and I’m not deformed or anything. So, I proclaim it absolutely safe and sound. Oh, and freaking tasty. I sprinkle this on all my veggies.
Back to my “Singaporean Pineapple Fried Rice” Grits:
I don’t know what to say that I don’t always say about my own cooking. I thought it was awesome. I loved the spices in there…it’s truly a unique blend of spices. I can’t say it’s exactly Singaporean, just like how Singaporean noodles aren’t really Singaporean either, and fortune cookies aren’t really Chinese (Please tell me you knew this already).
You can definitely make this with rice instead of grits, but you know I hate rice, and besides, the creaminess of the grits really contrasted well with the piquant spices of the pineapple and “meat”.
I adored the raisins and olives in there. Sweet, yet salty.
Obviously you can leave out the pork floss…but you’ll be missing out!
Open wide, Mara! Here’s a big spoonful for you:
And for you, my dear readers, I have an announcement to make: The Celestial Seasonings Tea “Natural Wellness” Kit giveaway winner!
Using the Random Integer website, this was the number that the random machine chose:
I tried to do the screenshot thing, but somehow, Live Writer is refusing to accept the screenshot picture, which really sucks. But anyway, that means the winner is…
Corey from Hope is Real!
Congrats, Corey! Email me your address, and you’ll soon be having a tea party!
Thanks for entering the giveaway, guys! By the way, I won’t be sharing my Sweet Treat Wednesday today…because it’s kinda special. So I’ll share it on my next post.
Question of the day: What is the best thing a friend did for you to cheer you up when you were down?