Good Food and Good Love

A spread of food

So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.—1 CORINTHIANS 13:13 (NIV)

Old Sarge, as my dad was called, never complained about the physical indignities he suffered as Parkinson’s ravaged his body. Dad accepted having to live in a care facility with the courage one would expect from a veteran of both Korea and Vietnam. But there was one crack in his stoicism.

This life-long connoisseur of good food now sat in stunned disbelief at what appeared on his meal trays each day. “You don’t actually expect me to eat this slop, do you?” A man who’d appreciated every bite of his wife’s splendid home cooking for almost 60 years was now faced with a dreary and depressing diet of white bread, margarine in impossible-to-open foil tubs, canned vegetables, chicken baked to shoe leather and all the other bland horrors of institutional meal service.

Except, as it turned out, at lunch. For the noontime meal, my mother came daily bearing a feast she’d unpack carefully and set before him: brie and Genoa salami on hearty grain bread, sliced apples and his favorite homemade chocolate chip cookies. Old Sarge would smile at her and then dive right in. My mother knew how much enjoyment he still got from good food, one of the few real pleasures he had left. And although it might seem like a relatively small thing, it always served as a life-affirming helping of love, and he knew it.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, help me to remember the humble ways we can express love and care in times of great difficulty.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts