My career as a nurse mainly consisted of employment in non-traditional settings with two positions in the Criminal Justice system. The NJ State of Corrections had a minimal correctional facility in Trenton, where I served as Health Administrator. In my initial interview with Mr. Oliver, the Director was pleasant enough with only one warning, “If you get involved with any of the residents, your nursing career is over.” No chance of that ever happening!
The most interesting information he shared during the interview was that the Food Services Director was a chef. Mr. Oliver gave two reasons: 1. The foods you eat impact the spiritual, mental, and emotional components as well as the physical body. 2. The chef was also contracted as his personal chef and prepared his daily lunch and dinner.
Truthfully, I had never encountered a man like Mr. Oliver, who was always in a good mood but strutted around the facility on his rounds like a peacock. So, the other nurse and I dubbed him “The Peacock.” We accused him of being arrogant and decided that we would never marry a man like that. Keep this thought in mind. We will refer to it later.
One morning, I overslept. It was my habit to take my lunch, but I did not have time. Because of the re-entry process, the medical staff did not leave the facility during their shift. Lunch for the residents was from 12-1 pm, and for the staff from 1-2 pm. At 1 pm, I went to the dining area to ask for a plate [residents also had kitchen duty]. But then I heard the chef’s voice, “I will take care of the nursing staff.”
“Sister, how are you? What can I do for you?”
“I am hungry, overslept and did not have time to fix my lunch.”
“Sister, you do not want to eat this food.” I gave a blank stare and remained silent. “You know that I am a Chef?” “Yes,” I replied.
“Food is graded from A-D with D being the lowest that is not fit for human consumption, it is usually fed to animals, and our food is grade D.” I ended up eating a peanut butter sandwich and drank bottled water.
Fast forward 20 years, and 98% of my food is organically and responsibly grown. Many argue that organic food is a waste of money, and that’s okay. Nor do I eat food from fast-food restaurants, as the majority of individuals frequent. I am not here to judge. But this is what I know. At 62, I am in optimal health. I have several diagnoses that are stable. The Grade A nutrients that I feed my body, along with the power of God, have healed me mentally, emotionally, and physically and have resulted in increased cognition and energy. My spiritual relationship with God has reached a deeper level because my total health is optimized.
Back to Mr. Oliver, I was wrong. It was not arrogance that made him strut around like a peacock, nor did he take happy pills or drink energy drinks to make it through the day. No, this was self-love that honored God for creating him in His image. Twenty years later, I fully understand Mr. Oliver’s enthusiasm about life. I also enjoy happiness [inner joy], the high-energy level, increased mental acuity, and the knowledge and wisdom of taking care of one’s temple. In fact, I, too, find myself doing the “Peacock strut.”
Bible verse: I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well. Psalm 139:14
Prayer: God, we thank you for making us in your image. Help us to start and maintain the journey to achieve optimal health. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
© 2021 Sonya Johnson