The world of church continues to be a blissfully confusing place for me. There is a thing that church folk do (calling each other folk is a whole other thing they do) that is thoughtful, kind and often times delicious. They make for food for people. And not just when someone dies. Church people make food for death, birth, illness, unemployment, separation and so on. If there is sadness or hurt, a lasagna can’t be far behind.
This is one of the things my church community does really well. A message goes out on social media and folks sign-up for a meal and deliver it to the person or family on the appointed day. It’s a beautiful thing. Food may actually be our community’s love language. We spend a lot of time together gathering around tables of food prepared by many hands. Wonder where we got that idea?
Over the last few months, going out in the world was difficult for me – something this people loving extrovert has never experienced before. Three weeks ago, my counselor suggested I dip my toe in the water and get together with a friend for tea – NOT at my house.
I chose a friend from church who is more than a church friend. As I drove her house on a sunny Tuesday morning, my nerves and queasy stomach were close to getting the best of me. My friend’s smiling face and easy manner greeted me at the door and I was able to breathe again. After apologizing for not having any baked goods to serve, my friend placed a pot of tea, two cups and a giant chocolate bar on a tray and led the way to her cozy basement.
For the next hour, she listened as I explained why I had disappeared from the world, how I was feeling now and where life was headed. She was gracious, thoughtful and wise. She was exactly what I needed. After another hour of chatting and getting caught up, I was feeling so loved and encouraged. My gratitude cup was overflowing. So I was totally shocked when my friend apologized for not bringing my family a meal over the last few weeks.
There had been no call for food from our church community nor would I have wanted there to be, and yet my friend felt bad that she had not dropped a warm meal on my doorstep. My jaw dropped. The last two hours we had spent together meant more than a lifetime supply of lasagna.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not poo-pooing lasagna or those who make lasagna. I’m a huge fan of anything made with noodles and cheese. I’m just saying if cooking for others as a way of expressing love is not your thing then that’s cool. There are so many ways to love people. If it’s lasagna, great! If it’s homemade pie, God bless you. If it’s a cupcake from a local bakery, well done. If it’s a cup of tea, a chocolate bar and long easy chat, you are speaking my language.
It’s a beautiful thing working together as a community to support and encourage others. But there is no one right way to do it. We need to embrace all expressions of love – be it food, a text, a hug, a cup of tea or a chat.