After marrying Taylor, I quickly learned that food was a big part of ranch life. Not so much cooking and eating, but being prepared to cook. We would often have work crews to feed and that typically took place at odd hours. Planning meals that could be made ahead of time and be ready to serve at a moment’s notice was a necessity. I’ll never forget bringing burritos out for lunch one day as a newlywed. The men who had been working hard since sunup sat down to eat them, kindly thanking me for the meal when Taylor came over, took one bite and exclaimed, “These are cold!” Similar experiences happened with a bag of chips that had gone rancid and more than one casserole I had seasoned with a heavy hand, men politely eating what I had prepared until Taylor confirmed that it was indeed gross.
My skills in the kitchen did improve as it seemed I was always needing to throw together a meal. What improved even more was my organization when it came to keeping our pantry and deep freeze stocked. Living outside of town can be difficult when you are a 30 minute drive from the nearest restaurant or grocery store. It is even more difficult when those establishments all close by 9pm. It was not unusual for Taylor to give me a call around 7pm when he was heading home and back in service to let me know that he would need to feed a work crew the next day or that a friend was driving through who would be staying with us and to have something good ready for dinner.
I honestly never minded these last minute requests as the company was always welcome. I enjoyed trying new recipes that I wouldn’t normally make for just the two of us. I enjoyed making a shopping list, trekking through Sam’s Club with a full cart and meal prepping until the freezer was full and ready for the unexpected. Taylor was the type of person who thrived off the unexpected and I am the type who thrives by being prepared for it.
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”Romans 12:13-16
The other day I was standing in line at the express checkout of the grocery story with my girls which is a rare occurrence for me to be in a 10 items or less lane with children in tow. The girls were talking non-stop and I was already mentally done for the day. I was wishing for a moment of peace when I noticed the woman in line in front of me. She appeared to be in her golden years and calmly held her grocery basket that contained two small boxes of rice or something like that and a plastic bag with a single grapefruit. As I analyzed the other shopper’s grocery haul, I tried to remember if I had ever purchased a single piece of produce before. I always buy a bagful of bananas or cucumbers even if half of them rot before being consumed. All I could think was that her life must be quiet. Her meals probably simple to prepare without little ones whining about vegetables being on their plate or asking over and over if they can have dessert. All I could think was that I don’t ever want to be the lady in the grocery store with a single grapefruit in my basket.
God designed us for community. He designed us to need the whole grapefruit orchard. I don’t think it is a coincidence that some of Jesus’s best known miracles involve food and community. During his time on earth, the Lord showed us by example that celebrations and fellowship are just as important as healing the sick and the blind. I’ve been living in a season where my little family doesn’t even fill up a small dinner table but it is important to remember, especially with Mother’s Day right around the corner, that we have a community to celebrate with that is so much bigger than just the three of us. Designated calendar days for honoring mothers can be hard when you are missing your own, longing to be one, or mourning a loss as a mother. I think that’s why it is important to focus on all the relationships we do have, offering hospitality to others and celebrating that God has promised us eternal community in Heaven to those who accept the invitation. If greeting card holidays are triggering in any way, look to the people you are blessed to have in your life, the ones we mourn and rejoice with, and remember that you are not alone.
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