Archive for January, 2010


With the devastation in Haiti I feel distracted from the “work” I’m supposed to be doing. Quite frankly, my start to 2010 has been full of distractions. Since December 27th I’ve been doing just about everything except working. We had a few unexpected snow days, and school delays, just after the end of Christmas break. I spent most of my time drying wet clothes, stirring hot cocoa, and praying everyone stayed safe while they bumped down neighborhood hills on a speeding sleds. In the midst of the cold snap I spent several days sitting with my sisters and my mother at the bedside of my dying Aunt Mary. As a result I attended two family funerals before January 10th – my aunt’s and my sister’s mother-in-law who died unexpectedly after she developed a blood clot in her leg. Now, I find myself riveted to the TV in disbelief when I see images from Haiti. I wait for the phone to ring or my e-mail to deliver word of evacuation at a Haitian orphanage where close friends are adopting two children.

At times like these all I can do, other than pray, is remain present to those I love by using my time and talent to cook. I guess when you break it down, cooking is my therapy. Since the beginning of the year I’ve made several yellow buttermilk sheet cakes, a few batches of pimento cheese, and several bowls of fresh dill dip to serve with sliced carrots or wavy potato chips. Over the weekend I took advantage of Saturday morning at home to make a large batch of lentil soup and bake some soft chocolate chip cookies to deliver to our friends. I can’t pretend food solves our problems or takes away the distractions. It doesn’t. But, I’m pretty sure a pot of soup, or a homemade cake, can become a balm for wounds that gape open when someone we care about dies or when we can’t stop thinking about those who can’t defend themselves in a massive natural disaster.

C.S. Lewis once said, “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”

At the end of the day, my ability and resources to cook remind me to be grateful. For today, my family and I live in a safe place where clean water and food is readily available. For today, I can stand to chop and stir. For today, I am given the opportunity to pause and create a space in my day where I can send prayers to those affected by the circumstances of their lives. For today, feeding others reflects our larger responsibility to take care of each other as we walk together through the day by day distractions of our lives.


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