The reason that we take meals
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Posted by: Adina Bailey on Mar 22, 2012
I always have the desire to take a meal to a friend in need, but finding the time can be difficult. When signing up on a meal schedule, I look for a day when it seems like I will have plenty of time to prepare. Even when I plan in this way, I often feel like more wrenches are thrown into my meal taking days than any others. Still, I want to take the meal, but it takes some shuffling and coordinating.
I wondered to myself recently, "Why do I do it?". Not only why do I do it, but why do we send out e-mail reminders each day to thousands of others who are taking meals. Taking meals isn't always easy, but so many people do it faithfully.
I found the reason that we take meals in the oddest of places. I committed to reading Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink with my young son. It's the story of a young girl growing up on the American frontier that is based on the life of Brink's grandmother. In one chapter, Caddie tells of two boys in her class who have an Indian mother. The boys' father, Mr. Hankinson, sends away their mother because as relations with the local Indians become tense, he is embarrassed of his wife. The Indian mother comes to the schoolhouse one day to say goodbye to her sons because she is being sent away forever.
Earlier in the book, Caddie earned a silver dollar that she was saving for a special purpose. After school on this sad day, she took the Hankinson boys to the local store and bought them candy, spinning tops, combs, and handkerchiefs. At this point, the book describes it best:
Dazed with their good fortune, they tumbled out of the store, whooping with joy and entirely forgetting (if they ever knew) that thanks were in order. Caddie and the storekeeper watched them race away, the red handkerchiefs flapping joyously in the breeze.
"Well, young lady," said Mr. Adams with an amused twinkly in his eye, "now your dollar's gone, and you didn't get a thing out of it for yourself."
Oh, yes, I did, Mr. Adams!" she cried and then she stopped. It was no use trying to tell a grownup. It was hard even to explain to herself. And yet she'd had her dollar's worth.
She found more words for it later when Tom, feeling himself for once the thrifty one, protested.
"But Caddie, you needn't have spent your whole dollar. You could have got them each a top or a hoarhound stick, and kept the rest for yourself."
"No, Tom, it had to be all of it. I wanted to drive that awful lonesome look out of their eye, and it did, Tom, It did!"
Just like Caddie, when our friends are hurting or when they have a need, we want to do everything we can to care for them. Our hope is that by providing the gift of a meal, we can replace pain with a moment of joy.