Sunday, January 16, 2011
Lately the big kids have showing consistent interest in the goings-on of our little kitchen. Sis, especially, asks every night if she can help with dinner. She happily washes veggies, carefully peels carrots, hunts around in the fridge for the cheddar cheese and runs back and forth to the pantry in search of the Cream of Mushroom soup. Mister likes to turn the can opener while I squeeze the handle. Peanut opens and closes the refrigerator, making sure our perishables get lots of fresh air. With helpers underfoot meal prep takes at least twice as long. But I don’t mind. I love that they love to be with me- partners in the endless business of preparing our daily bread.
Just this week I overheard Sis telling a friend that she can make breakfast. “I can make two things,” she said. “Toast and cereal.” We have been eating a lot of toast lately. The morning meal takes around an hour as she moved from toaster over (with two oven mitts) to table. She painstakingly spreads the butter then struggles with the knife in the jelly jar, eventually tipping the jar so that huge, shiny globs of jelly jiggle out to pile on the toast. Mister always asks for half of one kind of jelly and half of another. He loves jelly and his scientific inclination for observation has tested, with reliable results, that half-and-half really means double when a novice toast maker is on duty. So they eat toast with obscene amounts of jelly, leaving a sticky trail from the table to the kitchen faucet.
At the church I recently visited the pastor suggested that God, with a few miraculous exceptions, provides for our physical needs through people. He has designed us to really need each other and charged us with the sacred trust of being his hands and feet in the places where we find ourselves. This pastor humbly addressed the ways that God’s system of provision appears unfair, complicated, and contradictory. But he also suggested that it brings God joy and makes good sense for him to come along side his children and teach them how to make and do things that he could have done more graciously and expediently by himself.
And I thought of Sis and the way she smiles when the toast is done, the way her dimple shows up as she hands her brother a cold slice of wheat with apricot and strawberry. It is beautiful. It is good. Even if someone else could do it better. Even if it takes a long time. And I pray that my days are used to provide something for others. I pray: that the pantry of my heart constantly has little feet running in and out for supplies; that it needs consistent re-stocking; that the food stuffs get used up before they expire. Lord, make it so.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11