Don’t tell me God doesn’t take care of us when we’re hurting. When I took my mac and cheese to Paula the day after Rod died, I spent the whole trip over to her house pondering my covered dish (yes, I know…leave it to me to make it ALL about me, right?).
Mac and cheese is always my response to death — I immediately start thinking about how much cheese I may or may not have in fridge. There’s something about it that calms me. It buys me a little time before I have to be prepared to face someone who has just lost a loved one and it’s also reassuring to follow the same steps every time. I grate the cheese intentionally, filling it with prayers for comfort and with my memories of the person who has died. This little time of focus helps me pull my thoughts together so I can think of something to say to someone who is facing the loss.
But on this particular trip, my mac and cheese felt just plain insignificant. There was absolutely nothing different about the way I made it and I was perfectly confident that it would be at least enjoyed if not welcomed, until I got in the car. Then I started wondering…and you know how suddenly something very simple starts looking really earth-shatteringly stupid? Yeah, well, I started thinking about how someone in the family might be lactose intolerant, how I haven’t seen Paula in over a year and maybe she hates me, how their daughters don’t know me at all and maybe they will think I’m being presumptuous…all sorts of wild thoughts were making me feel like perhaps I should just turn around and go back home. Then, of course, the street I needed to find wasn’t where I thought it should be…by the time I called Steve to ask him to google the address I was nearly in tears and sure that anyone in the Parkison family who wasn’t lactose intolerant would have a gluten allergy.
Finally I got to the house. A quick prayer in the driveway for the right words to say and then Paula, seeing the dish of macaroni and cheese said she’d been thinking about mac and cheese all day! Not only that, but Barry and Claire were going to bring over a ham! Oh, God is just so amazingly good and sometimes he answers prayers nearly instantly…we just have to remember to ask.
I’ll never wonder about mac and cheese again. This simple comfort food can, indeed, provide a measure of comfort and in this particular case, it fit right in with what other people were doing to provide comfort.