Today the mother of my best friend moved. Since the late 1950's she had lived in the same house on a quiet street in Orange, CA. There she reared 5 children and then cared for what seemed like an endless parade of grandkids. Even though most of them are now grown, too, they somehow show up for her Mexican cuisine, just dropping by whenever they're hungry. And amazingly she always seemed to have food on the table for them. How did she know they were coming?
Thirty five years ago I was a house guest for a couple weeks following my high school graduation. My family had moved back to Virginia the summer before. So right after graduation my sister and I flew back to California to spend the summer with friends. My first day back we went to the beach (of course) and I got a brutal sun burn on my legs. It was so bad that for 3 days I lived on Mrs. Z's living room recliner, only getting up to painfully walk the few steps to the head. I think she was the only one in the house who didn't laugh at me! And she gave up her chair for me. Whenever I look at my shins and see all those freckles, I think of Mrs. Z's chair.
After Gail and I were married we moved to that same town where we lived for the first 15 months of our life together. I will forever be indebted to Mrs. Z. Gail would go over to her house and she taught her how to make enchiladas, Spanish rice and the best refried beans in the world. Mrs. Z should have opened a Mexican restaurant like her brother Fidel. But she used her culinary skills to serve others. A few years ago our church worship team from NC attended a conference in CA, and Mrs. Z had us all over for dinner. Cooking was her gift to the body of Christ.
It will be hard to walk into that house on Sycamore and not see her puttering around in the kitchen. Her recliner will sit empty. But the lives she touched, the husband, children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are blessed to be her family, the friends at church and in the neighborhood have all lived fuller lives because of her quiet and humble influence.
Mrs. Z moved today from her home of 50 years to her home for eternity. She's with her Savior, whom she so looked forward to seeing for the first time. I don't know this for sure, but I feel rather confident that there will be tamales served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven. And I promise, you'll find me standing in that line.
Please, Lord, let her make her homemade salsa, too. You'll like it.