I imagined cooking a huge meal for my first Thanksgiving back in the States. If there is one meal I know how to cook well, it’s this one. But this year, it didn’t happen. My husband needed to take a trip with one of our kids, and so I was alone with the other three for the holiday. Instead of cooking, we went to serve a meal at the Salvation Army. This is what the food looked like:
The energy in the room was restless. The crowds of people were moved in and out of the room in tight shifts. The kids all benefited greatly from being there and from being of service. But there was no sense of “feeding” people, even though the food in the room was overabundant. The bellies were full, yes, but there was no real nourishment in the room. A radio blared in one corner. People did not talk.
Before serving, the chef said a blessing with the volunteers. I could feel his heart inside of that blessing, this beautiful man who has given his life to feeding those in need. I wished that we had extended this holding of hands and prayer to the hungry souls who walked into the canteen after we began serving.
It reminded me of two of my greatest teachers, Mother Theresa, and Ammachi- who have both said that the greater hunger in our country is the hunger for love. I could feel this hunger in the room even though we served these enormous plates of grey food.
Would it have made any difference, at all, if the food had looked like this?