I just saw her last weekend. She's just an ordinary, middle-aged woman. But to me many years ago, she wasn't ordinary. At all. I'm so glad this memory came back to me.
It was a dreary, fall day twenty years ago. The family had gone home. The flower bouquets had died. The thank you cards had been written. The baby things were mostly packed away. And I sat there at the kitchen table and I was feeling grief overtake me. Then the phone rang.
"Would you like to come over this morning? I'm not doing anything and was thinking maybe you would like something to do." My first inclination was to say, 'no'. I wanted to wallow in my grief. I wanted to feel sorry to the core that our little premature baby had died. I wanted to shut out the outside world. But for some reason, I said 'yes'.
I walked upstairs to their little upper-flat. It wasn't much but to me it was a special place. The door opened with a ready smile and there she was - my kind and thoughtful friend. We went into the living room and there was her little boy playing on the floor. We made small talk and then she asked me how I was doing. She wanted to hear details about our too-brief time with our baby Amara. She listened intently because she cared. I poured out my words and heart and tears to her. She listened and sympathized. Then it soon was getting to be lunchtime.
"Could you stay for lunch?". I guess so. I hadn't planned on it. Then she said these words, "I don't have much in the house so it's just grilled cheese." Even though it was thin, white bread out of a bag, it was exactly what I needed and wanted. I didn't want to go home and eat lunch alone. I hungered for friendship and kindness and that's exactly what my wounded soul needed and received.
Because of that experience and many others through this journey of life, I have learned that it really isn't how lovely the meal. How pretty the house. How beautifully you're dressed. Sometimes when "it's just grilled cheese", that is just what someone needs.
Her kindness is not forgotten.