Over the past five days, I’ve had the incredible privilege of filling up my soul….and my heart…..and my stomach….with some of my favorite people.
I flew from California to Pennsylvania and spent time with my sister and brother, and the two lovely people they’re dating.
One of my favorite parts of the visit was that we took turns cooking for each other.
My sister’s boyfriend made dinner the first night — made-from-scratch bean burgers (because some of us went vegetarian for Lent!). Then my brother’s girlfriend made brunch the following day, with a vegetarian quiche and bellini’s. The following day, I made dinner — a vegan Shepherd’s Pie (where French lentils replace the meat) and a salad with sliced tomatoes, onions and peppers tossed in vinegar and olive oil.
While we were eating, we talked. We laughed. We shared. We hoped. We dreamed.
I left Pennsylvania yesterday and drove to Connecticut to visit friends.
Tonight, I’m making dinner again.
In light of the atrocities happening in our world, quiche and burgers and Shepherd’s Pie seem trivial.
And yet, I think somehow they’re connected.
Psalm 23 starts with the words, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” It goes on to say that God sets a table before us in the presence of our enemies, and makes our cups overflow.
Our world is hurting. Our world is dangerous. Our lives are hard. Our hearts heave and hurt and break. Our eyes fill with tears. Our stomachs sink at the headlines. Our souls flood with grief. Our spirits brace for the next sucker punch that we know will take our breath away.
And while evil and grief and heartache are real and true, I’m reminded this week that what’s even truer and deeper and stronger and higher is Love.
And while we fight evil and pray against disaster and disease, our souls are sustained by the constant sustenance of Love.
Sometime it comes from the Divine Shepherd, in an inexplicable knowing of goodness, by an indescribable feeling of being held. Sometimes it’s God who sets the table for us in the presence of evil and enemies.
And sometimes, as I’m reminded this week, we get to set the table for each other. We get to pour water or coffee or bellinis and make each others’ cups overflow. We get to remind each other that we’re loved, that we’re seen, that we’re known, that we belong….sometimes with emotional hospitality, and sometimes with more tangible means of grace.
With tomatoes. And onions. And quiche. And burgers.
And a loving Shepherd’s Pie.