Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meatloaf and Apple Pie

Bites of almost fully cooked pizza or bites of blackened pizza were being brought to me routinely by an encouraging young son as he and my husband tried to keep up with their work and mine too while I was sick.

I awoke one morning with the strength and determination to, once again, enter my kitchen. Such joy bubbled up in me as I made an apple pie, my son’s favorite dessert. Nothing is so reassuring that life is back to normal for a young boy as a really scrumptious gooey pie. As it was baking I pulled out the antique yellow bowl that my grandma, my mom and I have always used to mix meatloaf. I'm positive the joy in using my special bowl adds to the flavor of my meal preparations every day.

My husband is quick to tell everyone that I make the best meatloaf in the world. How he knows this, having pretty much refused any other meatloaf during his adult life, I don’t know, but he truly believes it. However often I make it, I know he will be pleased, comforted and grateful.

The problem with this homey scene is that I really hate making meatloaf. There is something repulsive about sticking my hands in that messy goop to mix it up. I looked down at my hands that morning, covered in egg slime, catsup, oats and raw hamburger and the joy of giving drained right out of my heart. “Why do I do this?” I asked myself, knowing full well that many women open a box out of their freezer and instantly have a typical American meal.

Much we do, thankfully, is done out of habits that have been fine-tuned through the years. I knew exactly why I was making a meatloaf. Loving someone is not about what we get in return for our giving, but rather about serving unselfishly. I love my husband and he would enjoy a healthy dinner of meatloaf even if he would have to bake some potatoes and cook the peas because I needed a nap.

As I washed my hands after having finished the meatloaf I was filled with satisfaction for having completed the job, and bubbling over with joy because I did something for someone else just to serve them out of love. I had gone the extra mile by adding the delightful surprise of a special dessert and it would bless my family. How often had I missed out on the joy of giving simply because I didn't take the time or go the extra mile?

Suddenly, it was no longer a plain old meatloaf and apple pie, but a feast fit for the King.

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