One of the effects of all the orders to shelter in place these past weeks has been the turning our attention to FOOD, in many ways–how to get it, who has access, whose recipes are being shared, and what satisfies.
On the creative/coping side, I have been delighted to receive recipes that people are sharing, pictures of fabulous concoctions that friends are experimenting with, reminiscences of old family standbys with a whimsical twist for this shelter in place. I myself, having abandoned the culinary arts in our house to the more talented for years, even I have even baked muffins for the last two weeks–for nourishment and for delight! The endeavors of those baking bread, creating interesting drinks and one-step cakes and casseroles make me happy when I see them on Facebook! I only wish I could taste them!
At the same time, I am daily aware of the epidemic of food scarcity and accessibility in the world due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Food banks and soup kitchens are running out of supplies more quickly than they can be refilled. Grocery stores cannot keep their shelves stocked. The lines of cars driving through stations where food is being shared go on for miles. And I am brought up short: what for me is entertainment, fun and nourishment is a gift of my privilege, and it calls me to find ways to act in ways that make sure that all God’s humans can find adequate food. I scour what I read and see for opportunities, and there are plenty to which I can give, deliver and for whom I can pray.. This week these doors opened: Bread for the World, a church pantry, a disaster fund, and an acquaintance that was suffering with no food herself! And today the city councilman provided a list of local food sources open for business. All of them gave me a chance to share from my bounty what I have been given.
Throughout Lent and Eastertide I have been seeing clouds as a metaphor for these time through which we are living–not in clear, sunny skies, but with the pandemic afoot in the world, in a sky with shadows, unpredictable, looming, sometimes even threatening. And the clouds remain! Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a children’s book by Judi and Ron Barrett, the title of which seems to me, to describe part of the way I am living right now, we all are living, right now. All of the clouds of this upsetting time of our lives are evident: confinement, disappointment, loss, fractures of class and race in our culture, inept government, poverty, vitriol, meanness, uneasiness and anxiety, Yet I hear again the words of the Psalmist:
She sets her table before me in the presence of my inner enemies. She anoints my head with the oil of Her blessing. My cup of joy overflows! (Swallow’s Nest. Marchienne Rienstra)
Therefore, I continue down this path we are walking, “in the shadow of death” without fear, knowing that neven as the clouds continue, there a chance of a table…with meatballs, or cheese and crackers, or brownie torte…as we go. I pray for the Grace to live into that as I recycle that Grace to those I am given to care for!