A few years ago I almost died at Thanksgiving. Seriously. I was really, really sick. It happened like this. It was the Monday before Thanksgiving and I took the entire day off! Yay for me! I made a grocery list and bought somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 worth of groceries for three days of holiday festivities. (These things happen when you only make a list twice a year and most of the time your family lives on peanut butter, crackers and diet caffeine-free Mountain Dew.) I was so darn proud of my accomplishments, I decided to get a mani/pedi (don’t judge me). While relaxing in the chair with the heated seat and massaging mechanical fingers, I realized that I was sick. But a girl cannot just jump up in the middle of a pedi! So I sat there and considered my options. I decided that I might could make it under my own steam to the nearest urgent care facility; once properly painted, I did so as quickly as possible. By the time I arrived, it was obvious that something was desperately wrong and they immediately took me back and began wrapping me in heated blankets. The doctor came in and said, “You are desperately ill. I need your husband’s contact information. Now. I will explain later.” He charged off and called my husband to come ASAP.
Meanwhile, I had $500 worth of groceries sitting in my car. I knew the nurse would understand and she did. I was allowed to call my friend and she came promptly – no doubt interrupted from her own holiday preparations – and drove my car home and unloaded my groceries for me. It was a scary week of trying to fight off a massive infection, but mostly I tried to figure out how my friend managed to get all those groceries in my messy, neglected refrigerator.
I was given strict instructions to stay in bed and not a single exception was allowed for stuffing the turkey or making my grandmother’s famous milk gravy. By Thanksgiving Day, I could hear the commotion in the kitchen, but could not imagine what was going on down there without me. Sometimes someone would ask me a question, “How much cheese goes in the squash casserole?” And I would reply, “I dunno. You just have to eye ball it.” Eventually no one bothered to ask me any questions at all and I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I walked gingerly down to the kitchen to inspect the scene.
EVERYONE was in the kitchen, no one was watching football, playing video games or shooting hoops. Most people were just sitting around giving advice while my daughter and her husband chopped and sliced and diced and consulted dueling ipads for recipes. It was really quite lovely. Being part of the kingdom of God isn’t about figuring out how to be a “blessing” so much as it is figuring out that people are hungry and someone needs to get food on the table. It really is that simple. And that profound. This holiday, let’s not complicate things. Look around and see who needs a good meal and figure out what small part you are meant to play in making it happen.