Friday, August 15, 2008

Hospital Food

Hospital food is always a challenge. My mother complained about it, even when she was being fed in the Emergency Room. I have to agree with her that overall it’s bland and confusing, with high sounding names to grey looking food. But she has eaten everything, pretty much, although she misses her own cooking and her own coffee. I think they do what they do on purpose, so that no one gets comfortable with the cuisine or service. I also ache for anyone that finds eating in the hospital truly a step up for them. My Mom said even a plain hamburger at home would be better than this.

I am reminded of the story of Peter on the rooftop with a vision. He learns a lesson and teaches the whole church about welcoming the gifts of strangers, the food of other cultures, and they ways of other people. For a faithful Jew everything that wasn’t kosher and keeping the laws was unclean – including people and they should be avoided completely. But God showed him that God would make the decision about clean and unclean. God would provide for the inclusion and welcome of strangers and their ways. The hospital is a strange place. A neighbor, a roommate not of your own choosing and stuck with strangers to wait on you, cook for you, and heal your wounds. And yet, in the midst of this, I am learning something new about the capacity of strangers. I am learning that God’s healing is often born by those we would not expect, and from remarkable, unfamiliar places. The food may not be great, but what is offered is more than adequate, and is the salvation needed for the day.

And so, as I head off to the hospital for one more day of sitting by her side, I ask God to help me to receive all the good gifts this day has in store. I ask that I can receive without restriction and enjoy without comparison. May we all see with the eyes of Peter, and receive with the heart of God.

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