At the time Little Tomato was born we had lived in Chicago for three years.
Our community was solid, friendships lasting and spiritual community like none other.
When it came time to celebrate her birth we found ourselves wonderfully overwhelmed with offers for meals, endless round plates and round bowls of the good ole’ quintessential go-to – Food.
Rebecca, ever so delicate to adhere to the expectation of needing space and time to heal and rest, shared with us that as she organized our meal bringers she informed each of them to simply bring the meal to our apartment, drop it off, say good-bye and part ways.
Because that’s what we do. We support with food. We leave space for healing and grieving and celebration within the confines of the home by handing over a basket of nourishment and walk away.
Some of us need this. We need this space. We need to not have the responsibility to cook a meal for our family, wash dishes, grocery shop, clean up the kitchen. The gift of a meal showing up on our doorsteps without expectation is like manna from Heaven.
Shopping for food though, it brings me peace.
Chopping and tossing, sauteing and baking – these are my therapies during times of change. Constants.
So when meals were set up for two weeks for our new family of three I found myself slightly anxious. I felt as though my constants were being “taken away” during this already changing time.
What we really needed during this season were the people dropping off the meals. We needed their company after a long day of simply learning how to survive, alone, with our first born.
We needed to be told that this season is a season and like all good, and bad, things – this too shall pass.
We needed adult conversation, to get out of our obsessive minds out of scheduled nursing and sleeping (or lack there of) and… wait – that’s about all there was at the time. Moving on.
So we invited our friends to stay, to eat with us, to talk with us, to make us laugh. We needed them more than the food they were bringing (although each and every dish was simply delicious and gorgeous).
As luck would have it, our meal providers, our friends took us up on our offer, some more reluctantly than others.
“We don’t want to intrude.”
“We want to give you the space you need.”
“Are you sure?”
You are our friends.
You are incapable of intruding.
This space is ours to share.
Yes, I’m sure.
Seriously, I’m sitting here bored out of my mind with my boob hanging out 80% of the day in 98 degree weather. Please stay. I’ll cover myself. I promise.
Recently our friends experienced a deep, significant loss. A loss that words cannot give meaning to.
Our church rallied and three weeks of meals were signed-up for within hours. Hours.
This is church.
The day before we were to drop-off our meal we received the following text: “Hey, I see that you will be our dinner angel tomorrow and want to know that you all are most welcome to stay with us and eat if you like.”
Sadly, we had already made plans for the day with the expectation that we were would be following the PC way of meal drop-offs.
Knock, smile, hand over the bag, leave.
I should have expected from from these friends. They are community manifest.
Such full gratitude for Jenny & Shanua (Recently married!) for this meal they provided not only for us but for our out-of-town guests. It was all fishes & loaves that day. A promise that there will always be enough food in the presence of community.
During times of celebration and sorrow we need you more than your meal. We need your presence. We need you to be present with us in our sorrow, saying nothing. We need to hear another clink of a fork touching a plate. We need to fill your glass with wine. We need your warm blood to warm our home.
Your meal is always more than welcome, but what we really need is you.