Several weeks ago I took sick. I’d gone to bed normally and woke up in the dark-thirty hours of the morning with an appendix gone bad. The bad appendix earned itself a not so endearing name and it made me sick as could be. I was amazed that something so small and insignificant could take something so strong and big down in a matter of hours. One of the side effects of the sickness was that unbeknownst to me it would lock my words away. They were held captive in some unknown place. My words were few and far between, my verbal communication was grunts mostly, and the written communication was nonexistent. The words had vanished overnight and I found myself distraught for more reasons than just an infected abdomen. A week post-op I found myself still silent, waiting for the words to return, my friends recognized my paralysis pertaining to life as usual and quickly developed a rotating meal schedule. Had it not been for this meal provision the Martins would have had to solely rely on subpar takeout and instant noodles.
It was on the night of the final “meal night” that I received an unexpected gift.
But first some history. Many years ago prior to Wednesday night service at the church house an optional meal was provided. The gentleman who spearheaded a team of volunteers who cooked and prepared meals for the masses of GFBC was named Freddie. He was a genuinely good man and he loved people through food. The meals were never fancy but they were delicious and for the weary mama I was with three babies under five they were a midweek reprieve. Our weekly routine revolved around those midweek meals. Countless times I crammed tiny frames into high chairs or sat with my foot on an adjacent chrome and plastic chair to inhibit its tipping out of its clumsy occupant. I scrubbed faces and hands prior to Awanas and Veggie Tales, and I fought sleep many a Wednesday night while the preacher man spoke. Eventually the Wednesday night meals would cease, time would march on, and that sweet man would enter Heaven leaving behind his precious widow.
Present day, There is not a week now that I do not move those same chairs, long since transported to new classrooms and and silent observers of ministry. But there isn’t a time that I don’t wonder if at what time in my history I possibly encountered them. I often wonder if those chairs were a talking record keeper if they would stop me and say, …
“Do you remember the time you sat in me and ate that Wednesday meal and cried because you were so very tired?” Or “Remember back then how much you stressed over such simple and small things? Things not of eternity and so inconsequential that you don’t even remember them now?” Or “Hey you see that dried bit of ketchup on my underside? That was placed there by your screaming toddler whose inability to effectively communicate rendered him screaming, ketchup covered and frustrated? Yet now, he communicates clearly and while he is still sometimes ketchup covered at meal times, he is a reminder that God is a promise keeper.”
That sweet widow of Freddie is my friend Neanie and she was the caboose of that meal train, post appendix.
As we opened our dinner she had sent our way, complete with not one but two desserts because if you know you know! Freddie and Neanie cake is manna from Heaven and Neanie’s banana pudding is absolutely amazing! As I opened and plated that meal I immediately was transported backwards in time as I recollected those Wednesday night meals and I thought to myself, “The spirit of Freddie lives on!” Simply put it was a reminder to love them with food. I ate that dinner and tears filled my eyes because in that remembering and reminiscing a story was born and the words were suddenly unlocked and made their way to the surface and the healing and wholeness began to take shape. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought how a simple act, the provision of dinner did more that day than just provide supper, it was a tangible act of love and mercy and provision in more ways than just the obvious. It was a tool of remembering much like that meal with the King prior to His crucifixion. I felt sure much like He said, “Do this in remembrance of me” the King was glorified by that sacrificial act of love between His people and the reminder to do more things like make ‘em a meal in remembrance of Him and His sacrificial love.