Friday, March 13, 2009

A Luncheon...

(I think if you click on this photo, it might enlarge so you can read the recipe and see a better photo of the salad.)

For a potluck lunch get-together Mom hosted yesterday, I made this potato salad (with a few minor adjustments) from Jamie Oliver's book, Jamie's Dinners. I wanted to make it because it seemed like a bright and spring-like thing to have with its smoked fish, chives, new potatoes, and lemon. In lieu of smoked trout (which I love), I used smoked salmon. That worked well, though I can imagine the trout being just about perfect.

One of Mom's closest, longtime friends has been in town and will leave in a few days, so Mom wanted to have her and a couple of other friends over while she could. I was privileged to sit and visit with these ladies yesterday afternoon, thoroughly enjoying each of them and joining their conversation, but mostly, I wanted to watch them and pay attention to their words and their lives.

The women who came ranged in age from the early 70s into the 80s, and each of them is vibrant, inwardly beautiful, bubbling over with laughter and goodness, and young in spirit. These women were part of the church where I grew up, and all of them have known me for most of my life. They've had me into their homes over the years, made food for me, prayed for me, taught me how to do new things, hugged me, shared their wisdom with me, written me letters, and just plain loved me.

I sat back and listened to them talk. They clearly give no thought to being deep or wise, but depth and wisdom oozes out of these ladies-- the everyday sort of depth that comes from many years of faithful walking in the mundane, daily round; from years and years of studying the Bible; from faithful prayer; and from learning to bear all things in patient trust.

As I sat, watching and listening to these women, my heart was full of love and gratitude and my eyes filled with tears. Life is brief, and I am so blessed and privileged to have grown up with these women beside and behind me, encouraging to keep onward, urging me higher. I am so grateful to have-- and to have had for all of these years-- these examples of beauty, loving service, and faithfulness.

And truly these ladies are beautiful, each one of them, with the kind of beauty I want to have-- the inner beauty of kind, good, loyal, consistent, faithful, serving, praying hearts. Life has brought each of these women deep pain, heavy trials, heartache, loss, ups and downs, and through it all, their faith has remained steady and has even grown. They shine.

What wise, good, and faithful souls has God put in your life? What a gift it is to be able to be with them, to pay attention, and to learn from them.