looking through me

Tag: food

unexpected

I bite on expectation’s illusion, but often the flavor of my days doesn’t pan out as I assumed it would.

Like Monday . . .

Grandpa’s surgery was delayed several hours and then took much longer than the doctors anticipated.

As I waited for updates, an email landed in my inbox saying a friend’s grammy slipped away while her daughters held her hands—and no amount of expectation makes it easier to witness the fabric of a family forever altered.

My heart ached under the heaviness of the unexpected. I prayed over and over, “God . . . please . . . I trust you . . . help my unbelief . . . hold us when we can’t hold on . . . please . . . God.”

Later in the day, when my friend called to talk through the details of how to best mourn with her family—wear black to the funeral, but don’t send flowers—where was I? In the grocery store. I listened to one heart grapple with the unwieldy weight of grief as I collected ingredients to serve to other weary hearts.

Because in the swirl of unexpected, sometimes food is the best love I can offer.

So I plucked mint leaves, squeezed a lemon and grated parmesan for mint-pea pesto. I sliced mozzarella, pitted plums, toasted pine nuts and reduced vinegar for a salad. And all the while I begged for God’s mercy to envelop and nourish those I love.

In days filled with the souring of expectations, I can call my people to the table and feed them . . . and sometimes, that is sweet enough.

 

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pre-thanksgiving . . . grief and gratitude

It’s November and the weather is catching up to the season. With the flip of the calendar and the chill in the air, my thoughts drift toward the holidays.

At work I write copy for our Christmas campaign with a sense of relief that I can skip ahead to December. I’ve never been excited to rush through the eleventh month to get to the twelfth month—not once. I fight the too-early arrival of Christmas each year . . .

But today I welcomed it.

Because when I picture my family we are gathered around my grandparents’ dining room table on the last Thursday of November. And I’m unable to imagine my favorite day without my grandma. It’s been years since she candied the yams or we celebrated at their house; but even as our traditions morphed, we were together. This year we’ll be missing our matriarch, and I can’t wrap my heart around the hole.

Maybe it would be easier if we’d had a holiday or two to practice being present in her absence, but we haven’t. Our first big family day since she stepped heavenward will be Thanksgiving. And the incongruity of gratitude and loss hounds me.

Each day of this new normal I notice more ways I miss Grandma: her smile, her grace, her one-liners, her joy, her ability to temper our rough edges with a look, a word or simply her presence. She was the filter through whom we saw one another. I am grateful. And I grieve.

So I relish the temperature change and the crisp pleasure of today—laden with memories of the past—as I put off the future. The griefs will arrive in due time; they can neither be rushed nor postponed.

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