An unexpected meal


We walk through the line like everybody else and bag up food for Mrs. J. We’d been asked to take her some groceries from Manna House. We’d been told she doesn’t like peas, but loves fresh fruit. We load the boxes in the car and her address into the GPS.

Mrs. J is quick to answer the phone when we call to say we’re on our way, but slow to answer the door when we arrive. A TV is loud inside. On the outside only her windows have blinds open, plants on every window sill.

She lets us in but won’t let us unload the groceries. She says she can do it all herself later. She knows where everything goes. She’s happy to get the food, but happier to have the company.

She says if we’ll sit down, she’ll show us her birthday card from the President. We do. Two years running she’s received a card from President and Mrs. Obama.

She’s just had a birthday. Her 95th.

We ask about the black and white portraits on her walls, pictures of  her in younger years with her husband (now dead), her two boys (one dead), her parents (of course, dead, she tells us).

On another wall is her marriage certificate dated 1937. She tells us her husband was drafted for WW2 when their marriage was young. He has since died from stroke complications in later years.

She drools a little, but she is clean and sharp and so is her place. She says somebody sends her a housekeeper, but she goes behind them because they don’t clean as well as she does. They occasionally sneak into the kitchen and cook for her, but she’d rather do that herself, too. She doesn’t like to sit down, she says.

Several times she tells us you’ve just got to keep going, never give up. It’s what she’s done. And she’s done well.

She says life has been good to her, and the good Lord, too. She tells us she praises him every morning and talks to him every night before she goes to sleep. “He’s our creator, you know,” she says, “and He loved you before anybody else did.”

We finally have to go but not before big hugs and a promise to return. She says when we come back she’ll try to keep her mouth closed; her surviving son tells her she talks too much. She tells us she loves us and we say we love her, too.

And we do. Already. After just 30 minutes, we love her.

We only showed up to give her food, but we were the ones fed.  Unexpected meals can pop up anywhere, anytime.

Thank you, Mrs. J. What a delightful feast!

* * *

15 thoughts on “An unexpected meal

  1. floyd

    Bless your heart, Lisa. Those are real treasures in this life, the ones that count for eternity and the ones we take with us when we go. Only the most valuable we take with us. Great story to start my week. Thanks.

  2. Beth

    Our pastor was preaching this past weekend about how we need to serve others and when we do, we will be the ones filled up. So this seems especially relevant to me and is a challenge and reminder we all need to heed, Lisa. I love how you took us along on this journey/ministry to care for Mrs. J. We have been blessed to see “the hands and feet of Christ” at work!

  3. Holly Barrett

    What a lovely way to bring joy to a senior! They so often just need us to spend time with them…and we can learn so much from them too. It would have been so easy for you to just drop the food off. Thanks for the reminder to be present and to see God’s divine appointments!

  4. laura

    And your visit with Mrs. J feeds me too! What a wonderful playdate, Lisa. I think these are the moments that make God smile–when we give to each other this way. It’s one reason, I think, we were given to each other.

  5. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! Isn’t it wonderful how God blesses us when we get out and help each other… Elderly people really have so much to offer us, but society is so busy that our senior citizens don’t often get an opportunity to inspire. How wonderful that you gave this woman the most precious thing, yourself! And your time. Like you said, it meant more than the food.

    Blessings! Thank you for inspiring me today 🙂

  6. kel rohlf

    Lisa- Thanks for sharing your feast with us…what a wonderful un(Lent) experience…I have been using un words for my posts and so I was drawn to this unexpected meal post, which filled me with much joy today! visiting from SDG!

  7. tcavey

    Praise God! What a touching story.
    Reminds of the good memories of being an RN. Sometimes we think we are the ones giving, when really we are receiving a bigger blessing.

  8. Angie in Guernsey

    I loved this story, Lisa. And I love that you are part of Manna House. I have a very busy job but know I could still squeeze in some volunteer time – your stories both make me ashamed that I do so little ‘extra’ and also inspire me to get involved somehow, somewhere. Thank you!

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