Today's a cooking day. Right now there is a pork loin having a sauna in my oven, surrounded by apples and onions flavored with cinnamon, sugar and a cup of apple juice (only because cider is hard to come by today). Topping it off is a good dose of minced garlic across the top of the pork.
This one isn't for me. It will accompany green beans cooked with bacon, a salad, biscuits and a cherry crunch dessert. Sometime in the next hour to hour and a half the whole dinner will be packaged up and driven to a family from my church.
My prayer today, as I cook, is that it will bring them some of the comfort I wish for them. Both husband and wife are about my age. Both have had severe medical problems in the past couple of years -- she with multiple orthopedic surgeries, he with cancer.
To top it off, their elder son joined the Marines and is set to be deployed shortly to Iraq. As a church, we surrounded him with prayer, hugs and tears a few weeks ago before he headed back to Camp Pendleton to await his unit's orders to ship out.
Their younger son is still at home, trying to live the life of a normal high school boy.
There are plenty of people in the church who have been helping them during the hardest days. At one point, they were crossing paths at the hospital door. It was a time when the one person each was most dependent on was unable to support the other spouse.
It's been a little while since the darkest days, but things still are not easy. Every day is filled with the overwhelming fear a family feels for a young man going to war. Every day is filled with reminders of their own pain and sickness. They may be functioning a little better, but they are not well.
There's still a schedule of people who are volunteering to bring them meals -- their Sunday school class and other groups are excellent at organizing support.
She has resumed her teaching assignment this semester, which puts even greater physical demand on her. I can't imagine how tired she is at the end of the day. But she always manages to keep a smile on her face and to be grateful for the good things in her life. It's amazing to see it.
So I'm not putting on my apron tonight to do a "good deed." It's quite a selfish thing I'm doing, actually. I'm hoping I get to see that smile, if only for a moment.