I love my Dad. I love being with him. And talking to him. And just living life with him.
Dad has had several strokes and as a result his speech has been affected. He can’t get his thoughts out fluidly. But his sharp intellect is still intact. It just doesn’t come out smoothly. Those moments when his thoughts do come out clearly…..are glorious. And I smile and think….there’s my dad. Mostly Dad and I play a customized version of ’Charades’. We’re getting pretty good at it!
I love cooking for him. A few years ago I asked the Lord to help me become a better cook in these later years. Never knowing how the Lord would help me do that. At that time it was mostly Bill and I. Bill’s an easy person to please in the kitchen. He’s always been a fun person to cook for. But frankly, I was getting a bit ‘sloppy’. Our meals were very simple and I was disorganized and repetitive. But with my parents moving in, I wanted to provide a variety of nutritious meals that they would enjoy. I knew that I needed to get more organized. What an opportunity it presented to show them my love. And Mom was so appreciative! It just made it all the more fun to think of things they could eat that would bless them and would help their aging bodies.
Now that Mom’s gone, cooking for Dad has taken on new meaning. It’s the primary way that I show him my care. He finds his way into our sunroom off the kitchen in the later morning. And I start banging around. I spend about an hour or two in there doing this and that. All the while Dad sits there…..knowing that soon he’ll have a warm meal with smells wafting from the stove. The lunch meal is his big meal of the day. So that’s where I pull out all the stops. As this rhythm is unfolding, God is speaking to me about the value of cooking for others.
I remember my little babies. From their first day…..I was the only one who could feed them. They needed my care and attention…..and the food that I would give them. As they grew…..it was the food that I made for them that was helping them grow….was creating tastes that they would take with them through life. I was defining what would be in their ‘comfort food’ category. As we walk through life, food plays an important role in our passage. God has determined that we can not live on Earth without eating. Over and over. **
As the final days of life unfold, food is one of the last pleasures that goes. I remember vividly the last meal that my mom ate. It was breakfast. She loved breakfast. She ate Melissa Stoltfus’ amazing eggs (which Mom just loved–they were like the eggs she grew up eating). And Viviane’s homemade-incredible-bread toast (which Mom felt was ‘heavenly’) with lots of butter. Lots. And cherry jelly. And black tea. She savored that meal. Really. S.a.v.o.r.e.d.
I know what it means to be in the kitchen every day. Day after day. Meal after meal. So. much. food. So. many. hungry. boys. It can start to feel unimportant. Menial. And that’s when we need the Lord to renew our perspective. We need His help….that He’s so ready to give….to enjoy what He’s given us to do. He’s helping me to see the beauty of it. The value. The privilege. The joy of showing love…..from the kitchen.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
**Heather Drew helped me with these thoughts as we talked. Thanks, Heather!