It is common in our church to feed families when crisis hits. Loss of job? Illness? New baby? For all of those reasons and many more, we have a whole army ready to bring you food. One time I mentioned that my son was home with the sniffles and later that afternoon my family was treated to the most delicious, homemade fried chicken dinner. In most cases we can’t give any real help with the underlying problem, but we can express our love by nurturing your family and relieving you from one aspect of day to day tedium. I’m sure this is common in other churches as well, but I do believe we may have elevated this act of service to Olympic proportions. We’ve got organizations and systems to accomplish this.
Our little congregation has recently been hard hit by many tragic circumstances—testicular cancer, leukemia, breast cancer, bicycling accident. People we love are hurting--emotionally and physically. Of course I would do my part!
This is where this post doesn’t make me look very good. You see, I often sign up for bringing dinner to someone and, well, I almost always regret doing so.
I have grand intentions. I plan what I’ll make and think, “Oh, I’ll just double what I was going to make for my family anyway. It won’t be any bother at all!” Except, it always ends up being a bother. I’m always late getting started and things always take longer than I think. I want it to be hot when it arrives to the other family but then I don’t want my family’s dinner to be ruined. Timing it all to finish at the same time isn’t my strong suit anyway.
I’ll arrange a time to bring dinner and find that I’m rushing at the end for it to cook and then to package it (in things the family won’t have to worry about returning—like they need to be worried about THAT on top of everything else!). Inevitably I’m 15-20 minutes late which means I’m hot, sweaty, rushed and usually have burns on at least two fingers by the time I arrive. I woosh in and leave it all on the counter and get the heck out of there because I’m so embarrassed to be so late. Truth be told, I’m also usually unsure of what to say in these instances so I hurry to leave.
Every time I think in my mad rush, “Why? Why did I sign up for this?” I think about all of the other sisters who are willing, happy and so much more capable to do this. I imagine that I am the only one—IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD—that this is hard for. I must make it too complex or it’s an internal fatal flaw that makes it especially difficult for me.
Why do I do this to myself?
I had this happen to me about a month ago. I thought about never signing up to do dinners again. And then I had the sweetest experience. I brought dinner in and the mom and kids were so appreciative. They fawned over everything I brought and swore that they were all of their favorites. THEY engaged ME in conversation—they shared their hopes and fears about what was going on. THEY opened up to me and I felt loved and welcomed. They did everything for me that I should have been doing for them (besides the food part). I felt the SPIRIT so strongly in their home.
I left food, but I was the one who was fed.
Why do I do this?
I do it because I’m selfish. I need to have that feeling. I need to sacrifice. Sacrifice is the very essence of service. I don’t want to float through life always being comfortable. I want to dig in and leave myself open to frustration because then I can truly know joy.
It’s such a little thing. Dinner. But by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.