The goodness began on January 6, two days before my husband got his eye cancer diagnosis from the ophthalmologist in Minneapolis, two days before we knew any of this was about to unfold.
I was scheduled to leave January 10 for a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International, so she left a lasagna and cookies at our doorstep for my husband and the kids to enjoy while I was away. She brought a card with warm and well wishes for my trip. I was blown away to say the least. Who does this? Who brings joy and surprises blessing in the form of a meal? Who knows how to love like this? Who honors another’s life and work without expecting anything in return? I knew now. I knew her name.
Little did I know, that was just the beginning.
Two days later, on January 8, my husband got the diagnosis. Choroidal melanoma. Eye cancer. To tell the truth, it’s all a bit blurry from there on out.
But here’s what I know for sure…
Before we shared the news publicly, the word spread like wildfire privately. Within 24-36 hours of Seth’s diagnosis, my mom told me that she and my aunts were planning and preparing a week’s worth of meals for my husband and three kids to enjoy while I was gone on the trip. So January 10, the day I left for the Dominican, my aunt and uncle delivered several meals to our home. Before the meals arrived, I’m pretty sure Seth was a little hesitant to receive them. “I’m not on my deathbed,” he said. “I can still cook.” “I don’t want them going to all of that work just for me.” But the truth is, my husband REALLY appreciated those meals. He and the kids ate them all week long while I was gone. He had enough stress to handle with the new eye cancer diagnosis to process, full-time work, and three kids to tend. The ready-made meals were a true relief.
My parents’ best friends transported me to and from the airport. When they picked me up at the end of my trip, Cyndy, my second mom, had a grocery bag full of food ready for us to bring home. They’d already done so much, and now a meal. I was blown away again, and we’d barely begun the journey. I’m sure Cyndy thought she’d provided enough for one meal, but it was enough for two. Truly, when you provide a meal, the love extends further than you know.
The generosity continued from there.
Warm muffins for our first trip to Mayo Clinic.
A big box of snacks and drinks for our week at the hospital.
Homemade chili, corn muffins and fresh strawberries from a woman we’d met two, maybe three, four times.
A crock pot of spaghetti and meatballs, enough for three meals, with oranges and homemade cookies.
Chicken enchiladas, beans, rice, and brownies from a neighbor.
Ready-to-bake fajitas with chips, queso and sweet popcorn snacks from a blog reader who also attends our church.
A frozen meal from our church meals ministry.
Stuffed pasta shells, salad, and homemade apple crisp from our sister-in-law and brother-in-law.
Frozen lasagna, garlic bread, and ice cream delivered to our doorstep courtesy of an aunt three hours afar.
A rotisserie chicken, fresh fruit plate, and Valentine’s cupcakes from our daughter’s friend’s mom, handed through the car window as we left cheer practice.
Two heart-shaped ready-to-bake pizzas, root beer and brownies from a family on our son’s basketball team.
Homemade cookies from a friend and mama of one of the boys on our son’s baseball team.
Hot tortilla soup, chips and sour cream left at our doorstep.
Lasagna, garlic bread and Seth’s favorite, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, from a friend who’s near and dear.
Pot roast, mashed potatoes, carrots and french silk pie transported two hours in a car straight to our table.
Homemade wild rice soup, cheesy bread, salad, and Italian Soda delivered to our door from a sweet college friend we hadn’t seen in far too long.
Yes, we have been blessed.
We have realized the power of a meal in time of need.
The meals that have been delivered, the meals that have sustained us through the past six weeks have been nothing short of a miracle, really.
We are grateful.
And we will remember.
When you deliver a meal to someone in need, anyone in need, it is a quiet and powerful expression of love.