my grandma likes to cook.
i can remember going to my grandparents’ house one year after they tore down a wall that separated the kitchen from a spare bedroom. i can remember not understanding why she wanted to get rid of an extra room, especially because i know that she enjoys having visitors over. my mom told me my grandma wanted a bigger kitchen so she could put a longer table in it. so that there would be enough room for more people to gather around.
this thanksgiving we were blessed with a large meal and a table full of family gathered together as we bowed our heads to say grace. turkey, pineapple ham, and stuffing. my aunts’ green bean casserole and lightly browned mashed potatoes. cherry cobbler, pumpkin pie, and fruit salad. sweet tea to drink. the table takes over the entire kitchen and we all danced around each other trying to find a seat. and off to the side of the oven were bowls full of rice, beans, tortillas, hot links, and carne asada. my favorites. she had prepared this extra meal for me. my grandma smiled.
“you didn’t have to do this grandma,” i said.
“i know, but they are your favorite.” she said. you could tell she was tired by the way her eyes were sleepy and the shuffle of her feet. she’d been cooking all morning and i watched as she massaged her arthritic hands; but her eyes smiled, you could see that too. and what my grandma has taught me is to make extra time to bring happiness into another person’s life, in the simplest and most quiet of ways.
my grandma likes to cook, but more importantly, she likes to feed people.
she wakes up and cooks for my grandfather, for her now adult children. for her neighbors. for anyone who will eat. and during the holidays she cooks christmas dinner for all of the men and women who are in the prison. sometimes she prepares the food with help, and sometimes she prepares it alone. but every year she makes sure that their christmas meal is special. she prepares meals for the church, and she prepares meals for celebrations and for funerals. i could tell you more stories, but mostly i just want you to know that i believe my grandmother is the kind of person we would all like to become. my grandmother is the kind of person that you want to know. the kind of person that you can’t wait to hear speak.
and before we left for our drive home she prepared another meal for us. homemade salsa, tortillas, papas, sausage, and scrambled eggs. she served me coffee with cream and sugar. she sat there in her infinite wisdom in front of the meal she had just prepared. my dad, grandpa, grandma, and i were talking about work.
‘you have to be patient with people,’ she said. “the world is so big and you are just one person, you can’t expect it to change so easily.”
She continued on, “Be patient and give people time. And you must be nice, you must be kind.”
can you practice patience today? can you allow someone just a little bit of extra time? can you leave for work a little early so that you won’t be in such a hurry? and can you make the time to do something nice for someone else? can you breathe some patience into the areas of your life that are not quite where you would like them to be? can you make the time to slow down? and instead of a sigh of frustration can you send out a sigh of love? patience is about remembering that all things take time. it’s about finding a wave of calmness in a sea of frustration. slow. steady. you’ll get there. it will get there.
can you remember that people are worth our time?
and if you haven’t yet, take the time to get to know your grandparents.
and if you aren’t able to get to know your biological grandparents, there are hundreds of aging adults in senior citizen centers, assisted living, and nursing homes who are looking for a friend. let’s not forgot about our older, elderly friends who have stories to tell, experiences to share, and lessons to teach.
take the time.