Tonight I had my first ice cream cupcake since recovering from surgery last summer. It seems so insignificant, but I couldn’t shake the memories.
During my recovery, I craved these personal-sized ice cream cakes literally every single day (ask anyone in my family and they will confirm this). Because of these delicious treats and my amazing family who delivered them at each and every request, I gained 20 pounds in two months—no joke.
At the time I didn’t care a bit. I enjoyed every bite of every cupcake, and didn’t regret even one. But I also found solace in those cupcakes. That may sound dramatic, but when every second of every day was filled with pain that made me just want to scream and cry at the injustice of it all (two things I couldn’t do without adding to the problem), the few moments I took to enjoy that treat distracted me from the pain. The ice cream cupcakes are that powerful y’all.
But tonight, it was different. I almost didn’t even get one because just thinking about them brought me back to those moments. I thought, “You have got to get over this Courtney. It’s just a cupcake. Plus it’s delicious. Why are you being so dramatic about this?”
Well, I’m being dramatic because it matters to me. These memories are still hard to think about. As much as the healing has been full of happiness, the pain had been full of desperation. There are still days that I want to weep at just how desperate my thoughts had become during that time. And something about these desserts remind me of that. Maybe it’s how often I ate them, maybe it’s the small piece of happiness they provided, maybe it’s just the one thing I remember most.
Whatever the reason, I don’t know that I will ever be able to eat and enjoy one of these ice cream cupcakes again. Yes, I realize this sounds dramatic, but y’all I don’t know what else to say.
I think we all have these symbols. It may be the pie your grandmother made that just doesn’t seem right now that she’s gone. Maybe it’s the shirt you were wearing when you found out someone you loved had passed away. Maybe it’s a time of year that seems to have lost it’s happiness without your special someone. Maybe it’s the place where you were told your most devastating news.
I don’t have it all figured it out, but I do know that sometimes things stick. Sometimes it makes no sense why the smallest things bring back the toughest memories. But it’s okay. I don’t have to eat the ice cream cupcake. You don’t have to wear the shirt. You don’t have to pretend to be holly and jolly when you’d rather sit in a room with no stockings hung by the chimney with care.
Your feelings are real. Your pain is real. I don’t care how much someone tells you that you need to “get over it.” It’s okay to want to avoid those symbols. Nobody wants to be reminded of a difficult time of their life. But y’all we cannot let these symbols steal our joy. They can steal our happiness, but they cannot steal our joy.
Being reminded of the hard days makes me want to do the opposite of “just be happy.” And I’m not going to pretend to be happy about what happened. Quite frankly I was miserable almost every day of that recovery.
But even in looking back at the hard days I can find joy because I know that God was there. I can see the way He gave me those moments of hope when I couldn’t find any on my own. I can see how He held me when I couldn’t stand up in my own strength. I can see how He placed people in my life to remind of what it means to want to live the life I was given when I wanted nothing more than to give up. Not once has He stopped working in my life, and not once will He stop working in yours.
This may be a lot of thoughts wrapped up in a small cupcake, but here we are. If you’ve read this far, I hope you see that this is about more than an ice cream cupcake. When you find yourself reminded of difficult times, feel your pain, friend. But also look for Jesus. He can be found there, especially there.