In the midst of the pots, pans, and cutlery in my kitchen, my rice cooker holds particular poignancy. 21 years ago, my husband presented it to me as a gift when we started dating. Soon after we fell in love, preparing chicken vindaloo, chole, and other Indian staples together almost every night.
Fast forward 15 years. On a cold, snowy December morning, my husband abruptly declared our marriage a sham, abandoned our 3 young children and me, absconding to an apartment, and grabbing our rice cooker on his way out. A week later, he presented me a diligently wrapped “Christmas gift:” a box picturing our cherished rice cooker, with divorce papers inside.
The term “heartbroken” doesn’t begin to describe my feeling at that moment. This man — who had repeatedly pronounced his love for me through poetry and drawings — now twisted a knife in my soul by cruelly tainting the symbol of something so beautiful. What once was a symbol of our family dinners together with our children for 15 years, became meaningless. I no longer felt the desire to cook. I longed for the day we would feel like a family again.
My husband suffered from bipolar disorder and was undiagnosed for over two decades.
Through grit, perseverance, and undying faith in my husband’s true nature and the strength of our bond, I helped save his life and wrested our marriage from the clutches of dissolution. We found our way back to wedded bliss, building our family to be even stronger than before.
Several years later, I still love that rice cooker; it represents the rewards of conviction, faith, and commitment. Throughout the ups and downs, and twists and turns of our tempestuous relationship, it endured. Other rice cookers couldn’t hold a candle to it.
The rice cooker represents a new chapter in my life. Whereas it once catalyzed the blossoming of a marriage, survived the carnage of our journey, it is now a constant in the flourishing of my beautiful family.
See the beauty in the everyday, cherish your loved ones, keep the rice cooker close to your heart. The rewards of such conviction are more powerful than anything you can imagine.