Random adventures through my life... in all their glory and splendor.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Beware of Good Lasagna

I wrote up a devotional for Church and since it's the only thing I've written in 6 months I thought I'd post it.

If you were asked to freely associate the word "Holiday" what is the first word that comes to mind? Personally, I would blurt back "Food". Food means Cooking, and Cooking is a tradition that is loosely translated as, "Opportunity for failure" in the Gardner household. My mother is a gifted and loving woman, but I am reasonably certain that she was afflicted with a childhood disease that has permanently altered her perception of temperature and flavor. With my mother, meals were always hit or miss and holidays usually doubly so. My sister and I had a game called "Burnt or Frozen?" which was kind of like betting on red or black in roulette. The gambling analogy continues in that there was the possibility that dinner could "land on green" and be both. This was usually due to some unsuspecting bag of peas, happily minding its own business in the back of the freezer, getting called into active duty at the last second. Which leads us to the next critical flaw in my mother's cooking philosophy, creativity does not equal edibility. There are people who can improvise with ingredients, but my mother is not one of them. I'm just saying, just because you CAN combine leftover chicken and strawberry jello, doesn't mean you should.

Anyway, what I..m getting at is that when my mom said, ..Your sister will be here for lunch. Why don't you come over too, I'll make lasagna," there's just cause for suspicion. Actually even when she says, "I'll make grilled cheese," you should proceed with caution. But as it turns out, on this day, the lasagna was good. Initially cold, but good. Really good. Too good. I was suspicious.

Now, my mother won't outright lie about her dark art mealtime techniques, but you do have to ask the right questions. So instead of brutishly saying, "The lasagna is really good, what's wrong with it?" I waited and gathered more information. You probably should know that my parents are retired and now spend a lot of time volunteering for various community projects. So when the conversation shifted toward the local food bank and the pattern of giving around the holidays, I started to put things together. "This lasagna is really good. Did you take it from homeless people?" I asked sensitively. This is the point at which I believe my sister snorted a still frozen pea out her nose, but don't quote me on that. "I think it's from Market Day," she replied providing an answer yet completely dodging the question. Now I knew I was on the right track so I continued to poke at my mother. "Don't the homeless like lasagna too? This IS really good lasagna." Cornered, all she came back with, "They were full." Huh? Laughable yes, but this logic clearly required further needling. "So.. you're saying we're eating some homeless person's leftovers?" I said as innocently as I could muster, but by this time she had formulated a better argument.

"Listen" she said, "Today we are dining in unity with our brethren, the homeless."
I was trumped and I knew it. "If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you." She added. "And if you don't like it, maybe you should do something about it," which was a completely unnecessary thing to add. I had gotten the picture at the word "Unity."

It's my understanding that generally food banks and other public services have little problem with getting donations between Thanksgiving and New Years when people are still in "the spirit of giving." Reflect on Ephesians 2:4-7 and commit yourself to an act of kindness in the off season.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions..it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:4-7)