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Where I See God
Photo: Studiomill
A gorgeous buffet greeted me as I entered the familiar dining area: food so well prepared and beautifully presented that it might have slid directly off the glossy photo pages of a gourmet food magazine. Relishing the moment as I stood next to my hosts, Dick and Eva, a kaleidoscope of cherished memories flooded my mind.

For decades, they have been more than a perfunctory presence in my life: sharing in the majority of my joys, sorrows, challenges, and accomplishments; wholeheartedly embracing my loved ones. In addition to opening their hearts and home to me and mine, they have driven hundreds of miles to quietly bring nurture during difficult times. Theirs is a love that enhances my understanding of connection, acceptance, and peace. Through them, God has tried to teach me what He wishes me to understand about Him.

They are generous in sharing their home, an inviting place where grace soothingly undergirds hospitality. Tastefully appointed, it is nestled on the wooded shore of a pond shared by a handful of neighbors. Dick’s tidy lawns and Eva’s beautiful gardens blend seamlessly into the surrounding woods. Birds frequent the filled feeders all year and in summer butterflies flit from deck containers to flower beds; softly falling autumn leaves and winter snow are reminiscent of Frost’s snowy woods poem. Conversation with Dick and Eva is easy and, at once, consoling, stimulating, enlightening, and entertaining. Being there gives one a glimpse of heaven.

Her Relationship with Others

Images of certain foods prepared in specific ways trigger thoughts of Eva serving them with her characteristic warmth: symbols of her relationship with others. One of my favorites is her ultra-finely shredded cabbage-only salad, deftly dressed with a touch of lemon juice and olive oil; the cabbage shredding is always done on a wooden family heirloom mandolin slicer.

There are authentically reproduced ethnic dishes which she first learned to prepare at her Italian and German grandmothers’ sides–each dish still always referred to in the original language (although less than accurately pronounced by some of us). Whether or not I mess up trying to say their names, those dishes, and even the tools used to prepare them, remind me that she and her extended family have held me dear for very long time. For even a longer time, so has God–even when I don’t fully grasp the details.

Eva’s unique oatmeal and sunflower seed patties, favored and fellowshipped over by many, have rarely, if ever, been replicated by anyone else. God’s gifts, ever new, are also beyond reproduction.

As delicious and beautifully presented as the food always is, it is my richly rooted relationship with Dick and Eva that make “breaking bread” with them especially delectable. Eva’s generously packed “left-overs” frequently extend the joy of the visit. As He did in feeding the multitudes, God never skimps; there’s always a full, pressed down, and running over measure for each of us.

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By Lorraine Beaven. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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