Don’t Spit into Your Spaghetti Sauce

This morning I ran into my old friend, Sam. I hadn’t seen him in a while. He told me that his mother-in-law, who had lived with him and his wife for a while, had just died. She was a tiny, old, sweet Italian widow – or so he thought – until he happened upon her in their kitchen while she was cooking spaghetti sauce. She was stirring and mumbling, “…and this bastard did that to me” and “…and that son-of-a-bitch did that to me” all the time spitting into her sauce. Cursing under her breath, stirring and spitting.

“That old lady died with so much resentment in her,” my friend Sam said, “and I realized that I don’t want to keep spitting into my spaghetti sauce.”

I understand, too, that I am going to live peacefully, I have to give up resentments. Moving onto the next chapter of our lives means letting go of the last chapter. And letting go of the people who might have hurt us. Maybe they did – but it’s time for us to gently let them go and move on.

I find the best way for me to release an old hurt is to close my eyes and invite the person into my mind with me. I pretend it’s a quiet, cozy, well-appointed room. (For some reason, this room in my mind happens to be burgundy red.) I tell them what I want to say. I listen to what they might tell me. If I’m breathing deeply and staying calm, I often am able to “hear” the message they were unable to tell me in person. If it’s a family member, I hug them and then let them leave. For a business associate, I might shake their hand and wish them health, happiness and prosperity.

If I want to feel better, I can’t wait for someone else to apologize or make the first move. It’s up to me. I might not even have to say I’m sorry – words are cheap – I just have to act differently when I’m with them and think differently when I’m not with them.

I don’t want to waste my life being angry at people. Resentment means re-feeling the same feeling over and over. It blocks the sunlight of the spirit. Resentment keeps me a prisoner. And I don’t want to reach the end of my years still spitting in my spaghetti sauce.

P.S. Sam said that when his mother-in-law asked him if he wanted some spaghetti and meatballs, he thanked her politely and went out to dinner!

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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1 Response to Don’t Spit into Your Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Amir says:

    Alexandra Stoddard, a well’known interior derooatcr, insists on a vase of fresh flowers in the refrigerator it makes a lonely place seem pretty so you will keep it neat (not have food waste???!!!) She also suggests floating a gardenia in the toliet(s) when company comes I think that is going too far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Food waste story: we put the meat in the microwave to thaw during the day so as to keep it safe from our 11 cats. Glenn went to make his grits yesterday and discovered two very thawed chicken breasts I insisted we discard them. Wonder if they would have been ok?

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