Last Wednesday, I was making a casserole, a chicken spaghetti recipe I'd been wanting to try for a while, but never gotten around to. It made a lot, and after combining all the ingredients, I was splitting the results into two smaller baking pans. After covering both pans in foil, I put one in the freezer and the other in the fridge. The next day, Josh would bake the latter to be delivered hot to a lady at church who had just had a knee replacement.
When we had the baby, we got on the meal delivery list. Every other day, a smiling Episcopalian would arrive on our doorstep to deliver our dinner. Some of the cooks really went all out and brought us things like salmon or pork tenderloin. There were casseroles, and pasta, and someone brought the fixins for a taco night. Each offering was a glimpse into the kinds of dinners the preparer made for their own families. Some of these people I met for the very first time. Nice to meet you, welcome to my home, here is my new baby, I usually shower daily, thank you for the home-cooked meal.
I felt a bit guilty about receiving so much. We had a freezer full of soups that my in-laws had made us, and we were not so done-in by new parenthood that we couldn't have scrounged up something. I tried to repay each gift with the only thing I had to offer: a baby. Each visitor admired our new arrival, and those who came when she was awake were able to hold her. I felt indebted, so I signed up to be on the mailing list to be notified when other people needed food. I've taken a lasagna to a couple with a new baby and some stuffed peppers to someone going through an illness. There are deliveries for happy occasions and for sad ones.
Friday morning, I had pie for breakfast at my mother's house. The pie had been baked with farm-fresh apples by my mother-in-law, who sent the pie along with a loaf of bakery bread. As we finished our breakfast, someone delivered eight two-liters, a cooler, and a supply of cups. I did not recognize the man, and my mom wasn't entirely sure who he was either, though she thought it was so-and-so's son. The drinks were for that afternoon, when a swarm of relatives would arrive for my father's funeral. My mom would also bring home bags and bags of food leftover from the reception: little sandwiches and cracker trays and chicken fingers and pound cake. Even after the relatives had gone back home, she wouldn't need to cook for days.
Sometimes you are the giver, and sometimes you are the receiver. May I deliver more meals than I receive, Amen.