After going years without making this pie, I’ve made it twice in a month’s time.
It’s truly the best Key Lime Pie I’ve ever tasted.
The first time I tried it was after kidney surgery in July of 2015. A neighbor I didn’t know very well at the time unexpectedly dropped it off at my house.
I had absolutely no appetite, but this cool, creamy pie actually sounded quite good. I ate my share and then some, much to my family’s disappointment.
Long after the pie was gone, the healing impact of the gesture remained. I was struck by the fact that my neighbor deemed me worthy of the time, effort, and ingredients required to bake that beautiful pie.
Some loving gestures catch us at the right time, filling an emotional emptiness we didn’t know we had.
That was the pie.
It meant something.
I found myself digging out the recipe on Easter Sunday and then again, a few weeks ago, for my mother-in-law’s visit after a long year apart.
“You’ve been making this pie a lot,” my family happily noticed.
I noticed too – and I wondered if there was an underlying reason.
An exchange with a friend at the cluster mailboxes in our neighborhood the other day clued me in.
When she saw me limping, she asked how things were going with my foot.
I unexpectedly blurted out that I’d had an MRI, and it revealed I need surgery.
“Promise me you’ll tell me the procedure date when it gets scheduled,” my friend implored.
Promise me, she said.
Those were her exact words.
She knows …
I’d prefer to suffer in silence than have anyone go to any trouble for me.
I’d prefer offers of support be extended to those who have greater needs than I do.
I’d prefer to be the one who helps, not the one who is helped.
That’s when my friend placed her hand over her heart and said, “It would be my honor show up for you.”
My eyes started watering.
I know about that—
To BE the pie bearer is an honor.
That’s how I feel when I visit the supermarket cashier who walked all the way around the checkout counter to hug me when my cat Banjo was very sick a few years ago. I ended up writing a letter to the CEO of the grocery store chain to ensure he knew about this remarkable woman who cares for all her customers like she cared for me that day.
From that moment on, Ms. S called me “her angel.”
When she had to stop working at the store due to health issues, she gave me her address and phone number and told me to visit anytime.
When I drive to her home with flowers and cards, I think about the photo she showed me of herself in her younger days.
“I used to be beautiful,” she said wistfully.
It is my honor to make sure she knows she is still beautiful and worthy of flowers and citrus streusel bread and friendship and prayers.
Ms. S says my visits seem to come just when she needs to know she has not been forgotten.
I think about the pie –
and how it meant something.
In Jessica Lahey’s remarkable new book, The Addiction Inoculation, there’s a section I don’t think I’ll ever forget. In it, Jess offers several pieces of advice to teens who suspect a peer may have substance abuse issues. She writes:
“Be the first piece of the puzzle.
I often use a puzzle metaphor when talking to kids about substance abuse. Hardly anyone stops drinking or using drugs when the first person mentions there might be a problem, and it may not be until the fiftieth person says something. But without person one through forty-nine, there is no fiftieth person.” (p. 200)
I can’t seem to stop thinking about that powerful concept. I wonder if it works with other things like:
I think about the pie bearers, realizing at some point, one of them offers the worthiness piece that makes the belief finally sink in…
I am worth the trouble.
I am worthy of the best ingredients.
I am worthy of recognition from the CEO.
I am worth the time.
I am worth the effort.
I am worthy of having my needs met, my dreams fulfilled.
I am worthy of a pain-free life.
The day that belief finally sinks in might just be the day…
the long overdue appointment is made
the buried dream surfaces
the brave first step is taken
the help is accepted
the boundary is set
the self-care is implemented
the answer becomes clear.
All of this… because someone filled an emotional emptiness with a piece the hurting person didn’t even know was missing.
Dear ones, please never underestimate the power of being the pie bearer.
And please never underestimate the power in receiving the pie.
No matter what side you’re on, you are worthy of a big, beautiful slice.
My friends, I always think of May as a month where we often recognize the people who show up for us in life. In honor of that, the gorgeous LIVE LOVE NOW cuffs are Buy One, Get One Free. Get one for you and friend… you and your family member… you and a teacher… you and a co-worker… you and medical professional. Simply click here to shop and use the code: LLNBOGO at checkout. Offer good through May 12 or until the bracelets run out.
And if you are looking for a very special, restorative gift for yourself and/or someone you love, please keep in mind the SOUL SHIFT weekend retreat happening in the mountains of Boone, NC Nov. 5-7. I am determined to be all healed by then so we can walk the gorgeous grounds together!
Oh, and the recipe for the pie can be found here or on the bottle of Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime juice—just be sure to add a 1/2 cup of whipping cream to the condensed milk, egg yolks, and key lime juice mixture to make it taste even better.