For the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe. We’re pretty relaxed over here, and stories and photos are as welcome as menus and recipes. When your Food on Fridays contribution is ready, just grab the button to include with your post. It ties us together visually. Then fill in the boxes of this linky tool to join the fun!
Food on Fridays with Ann
When a family faces the loss of a loved one, friends show up at the house holding platters of cold cuts and crock pots full of meatballs. People bring coffee and bagels and donuts, chips and pulled pork and ham and potatoes and rolls.
What can we do to console our dearest friends whose fragile souls heave with the howl of grief?
We feel helpless. We try to love and serve them as our own shredded hearts gush tears.
Someone comes up the steps holding a container of soup and cornbread. “I wish I could do more,” she says.
“We all do,” someone else responds, and then we push the bowls of trail mix and plates of cheese cubes to the side to make room.
The older brother and his friends from school come through and load their plates with cookies and donuts and slices of salami and piles of chips and then return to a back bedroom. The sister comes through and grabs a bottle of water. Little brother rushes in, “Where are the Sprites?”
“Down here,” I point.
He grabs a can—”Thanks!”—and runs off.
Later, the family will ladle soup into bowls and serve themselves squares of cornbread. It feels so small, so insignificant, to offer nothing more than a bowl of soup or a decanter of coffee or a box of Dr. Pepper, but it is something tangible…a small, good thing.
The lonely baker from Raymond Carver’s story, upon realizing their loss, served two grieving parents fresh baked rolls, straight from the oven, as they sat together in his bakery kitchen.
You probably need to eat something,” the baker said. “I hope you’ll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this,” he said.
Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this. We know this, so we bring rolls. But all the rolls in the world cannot possibly fill this gaping hole, and we know that, too. The only thing that fills the gasping heart is the Bread of Life, broken for us.
We continue to offer warm rolls and chicken noodle soup, and we pray. And on this day, Good Friday, all over the world, Christians remember the suffering Savior and fall to the foot of the cross in worship.
And we cling to the deep, nourishing hope of Resurrection.
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Photos by Ann Kroeker. “Pin” these images in a way that links back to this particular page, giving proper credit.
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Hazel Moon says
Breaking bread together, in times of sorrow – (or celebration,) is a wonderful bringing together of souls.
Our hearts join in the grief of those left with only questions and wondering why. The comfort of friends and the Holy Spirit helps those sad days pass a bit more quickly. There are still memories that must be relived of the good times. That is pleasing to God.
The Holy Spirit has been a comforter, moving through the body of Christ as we’ve surrounded our friends. And we experienced a stirring memorial service, remembering. But still, the pain. Thank God for the cross, for Easter, for Jesus.
I am reminded of a famous quote by Dorothy Parker. When her husband died, and a neighbor asked “Can I get you anything?” DP snapped, “Yes, get my husband back!” When the woman stammered that she couldn’t do that, DP said, “Then get me a ham on rye, hold the mayo.”
All these years I thought that was DP being cynical and smartaleck, but maybe not. People do so want to help, and since they cannot do the one thing that would comfort, food is at least something. Maybe it’s even a lot.
They have to eat, to keep going. And the chaos of this past week left no time at all for the family to make food. I know what the friend meant when she brought the soup. It seemed so trivial, but those of us who were helping in other ways didn’t have time to make a meal for the family. Physically, it was exactly what they needed in that moment; and spiritually, they have been clinging to the Bread of Life.
Heather L. says
Happy Easter to you and your family!
Thank you, Heather. We are clinging, and though we don’t feel happy, we will soak up the deep joy of Easter morning.
Diana Trautwein says
Oh, Annie. This is just so lovely. SO lovely. I am, again, so very sorry for this loss in your community — but also grateful that there is a community, because that can make all the difference. Easter blessings to you and yours, Ann.
Thank you, Diana. Thank you for your pastoral heart and your friendship.
And seeing the body of Christ working in concert to support and serve our friends has been amazing. And others, too, who perhaps don’t share the same faith but love the family come along and are part of the blessing and are, I pray, blessed, as well. In the heartache, so much love.
Trish Southard says
You’re always in my heart Ann, but somehow sorrow just pulls my heart in closer to you to the Lord and to our sacred celebration tomorrow. Thank you for writing your memories for us all. A very special and sober Food on Fridays. I’m honored to be a part of it through love for you and your family, heart-felt prayer and posting.
You are a treasured friend, Trish. I feel your prayer, sorrow, affection, and love across the miles. Thank you for sharing this space with me.
Megan Willome says
Bringing food is a holy thing. Especially comfort food, like soup and rolls. I’ll have to read that Carver story.
I meant to provide the credits, but things have been chaotic, as you can imagine, and I forgot. Here is the link to a pdf version. The story has some raw language reflective of the emotions. http://www.scriptorpress.com/burningmanbooks/46_2006_carver.pdf
Heather L. says
By the way, I think I came and commented “Happy Easter” last week in response to a comment you made on my blog, without fully grasping what you were going through. I do not know the details of what is going on in your community but am sorry that I so quickly wished you a Happy day without grasping that Easter would be much harder than normal this year for your family. I trust that Christ’s presence was very near to the suffering family and you all surrounding them and that in a different way Easter was more meaningful.
Ann Kroeker says
I was trying to be somewhat subtle for the sake of the other family…just as you guessed, Easter ended up taking on a deep, deep, powerful meaning for us. Worship floored us. Your words today are so sweet–and I gladly embraced your sweet Easter wishes with gratitude. You are a blessing, and so compassionate. Thank you for this, and know that you were a gift even that day, as well as today.