For my money, there is nothing so nourishing and revitalizing as a glass full of mango juice.
It refreshes my DNA.
I don't even know what that means but I'm sure it is true.
But my mighty mango drink is more than just food for the body. My mind and soul are strengthened too, as I remember one particularly special glass of this fine juice.
* * * * *
The date was Friday, June 27, 2014; the last full day of my second trip to Malaysia.
I'd happily bounced around the country for four weeks, visiting a succession of endlessly generous Malay friends in their homes, and adapting to my ever-changing circumstances. The whole experience was rich and rewarding beyond words, but here's the thing.
If anyone tells you that it's easy to be a white, Christian, married yet brazenly unescorted, American woman traveling in an Islamic nation, well, let me just set the record straight. It's not.
By this fateful last day of my visit,
my emotional reserves stood severely depleted,
my nerves were jangled and raw.
and I felt as vulnerable and exposed as that dream where you show up naked for class in high school.
My primary host's mother-in-law, the venerable Mak, had invited me to lunch. Per her instruction, I sat at the table and listened to her whipping up our meal in the nearby kitchen when all I wanted to do was put my head down and cry hot tears of frustration and shame.
As I struggled to hold myself together, Mak's arm appeared from behind the refrigerator door.
The fruit is from our tree in Melaka.
In her hand, Mak held out to me a huge tumbler full of fresh-squeezed mango juice. Golden, thick, and chilled to perfection. I took the glass in both hands, raised it to my mouth, and began to drink that sweet nectar in uncontrollable gulps.
The first glass was gone in record time.
I asked for a refill.
Before the meal was over, I think I tossed back three and a half rounds of that goodness. Killed the whole pitcher, as I recall.
Okay, so maybe I went a bit overboard, but the magic of the mango went straight to work on me. Slowly, inexorably, my calm was restored not in waves or even swells but in gentle ripples, and my confidence returned to help me face not only that day but also the emotional round of goodbyes that lay ahead.
* * * * *
Now, every time I take a sip of mango juice, I feel the same surge of goodness and light shoot through me, mind, body and soul. Can't say for sure if this is a medicinal quality of the fruit or perhaps the lingering effect of a friend's kind hospitality, but the power of the mighty mango lives on.