Monthly Archives: January 2010
Some days, I would go and pick her up at lunch and we would go to this fabulous Cuban restaurant in town. They made the best chef’ salad I think I’ve ever tasted and I looked so forward to going to that restaurant and ordering MY salad. They used real meat, ham, turkey and roast beef in their salad. They didn’t use the kind of meat that is crunched up and processed to look like meat. No, they used real meat!
Additionally, they used 3-4 differnt types of cheses, onion, olives, banana peppers…the whole works. All this together made for such a delicious lunch for me.
Now, anyone that knows me, is very aware that I’m considered the “salad queen”. Almost every place I go to eat, I order some type of salad. When I particpate in pot luck dinners, I always make the salad, and it is always a big hit. Yes, I think I’m the resident expert on salads.
When I ordered my salad from this particular restaurant, the servings were so large that I would always order a to-go container to put half of the salad away for dinner that night. My roommate liked to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, so it was convenient for me to eat my half-salad when we returned home at night. We were content with me and my salad, and my roommate and her PBJ. All afternoon, I looked forward to going home, relaxing for TV and eating my leftover salad.
This particular day as we took our usual path through downtown Tampa to go home, it was rainy and drizzly and a little cold outside as we pulled up to a red light. There was a lady standing in the inclement weather, assumedly one of Tampa’s homeless people. She stood at the corner, with a shabby dress, salt-n-pepper hair and old black shoes. She look thin and very sad, from what I remember of her that day. The scene was even more grim, only because it was so rainy and drizzly and soon to become dark as she stood outside, with seemingly no place to go for refuge.
So as we sat there at the red light, my roommate said, “Give her your umbrella”. Of course, I reached in the back seat and handed her my umbrella.
Then my roommate said, “Give her some money”. Again, I reached down in my pockets and gave her my cash.
Then all of a sudden, as I’m handing over my cash to this lady outside the driver’s side window, my roommate put something else in my hand, and said, “Here, give her your salad”.
WHAT???? MY SALAD!???
“Give her your salad”, she repeats. “What!?, are you crazy? She doesn’t want my salad!” I cried.
She replied, “she obviously DOES want your salad. Look at her… she’s pulling on the box and you’re not letting go!” As I looked back towards the lady, indeed she was pulling on my salad, but my fingers were relentlessly clutching to my half-box of salad
Now, if you can imagine the scene of two ladies in a white cadillace, sitting at a red light, with a homeless woman standing outside the driver’s side of the car, playing tug of war with a salad container. I’m sure it must have been pathetic and hilarious all at the same time.
My roommate continues, “Give her your salad!” “Why should I give her my salad? You give her your PBJ”, I replied.
She responded, “I would If there was a PBJ in the car.” I said, “Well, that’s convenient for YOU, now isn’t it?”
As it turns out, I lost the battle for my endeared salad , and gave the woman my treasured dinner for the evening. There were fingernail marks on one side of the container where I held so tightly, nevertheless, she got my salad.
WASN’T IT ENOUGH…that I gave her my umbrella? WASN’T IT ENOUGH…that I gave her my cash? WHY THEN… did I need to give her MY salad?
Sometimes, God calls us to give up material things, or asks us to give to others in need. It’s so easy to give up things that are not dear to you. But, can we give up the things that are special and bring pleasure for one small moment in time?
Jesus said, “He who (seeks) to find his life, shall lose it… “He who (seeks) to lose his life, for my sakd, shall find it. Matthew 10:19
Does God want MY Salad? Does he want yours?
This past Saturday, I said farewell to my son, Michael, who is off to serve a second tour in Iraq. I held my emotions in until I got home because I didn’t want him to see my grief.
My grief is because I was there when he returned in 2006 from Iraq and it was one of the worst years of mine & his life as he continued to re-live the events that took place while in Iraq. We will never understand the horrible atrocities our military people have seen in this war. It is horrible and unimaginable and there seems to be a waiting line at most VA hospitals of young men & women, suffering from PTSD and needing help.
I believe the count is up to 17 of his buddies who have given their lives for their country in Iraq. The rest of his buddies that lived are learning that survival doesn’t stop just because they’re back on American soil and away from imminent danger. The survival of night sweats, nightmares, flashbacks have caused many to fight a different type of battle. Some have resulted suffering from severe depression. I would guess the depression stems from their mind desperately trying to process what they saw and experienced.
I recall a song I wrote for Michael years ago when he was 6 years old. He was so afraid of going into deep water and I wanted him to learn to swim. One day at the pool, I carried him out to the deep water, holding him snugly against me. I could hear whimpers as he grasped tightly to me from his fear.
I always sang to my children when they were afraid, or when they were going through a hard time, or to teach them to enjoy taking baths, or doing chores. I made up silly songs all the time.
So this particular day as we wandered out into the deep water, I sang, “Don’t Be Afraid of Tomorrow”. Now at the time, that was not a song that I knew. I was just making it up as I went.
Years later, while Michael was in Iraq, I wrote him and asked if he remembered this song that I eventually ended up writing and recording on my first CD, JustMel.
It comes from Psalms 91
DON’T BE AFRAID
Dont be afraid of tomorrow. Don’t be afraid of the storm
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. The one He placed in your heart
Because He Will Carry You, He will See you through
In the middle of the night when things don’t seem right
He will give you a song, make your feet go on
To run the race ahead, You will be victorious!
Don’t be afraid of the terror by night, the arrow that flies by day
God keeps his eyes on the sparrow, and I know His heart is set on you
Don’t be deceived by the plans and the schemes to draw you off the narrow way
Don’t you Fall…because you’ve been called
Stand up and don’t be Afraid!
God Bless all our children, husbands, spouses and other family members who serve so proudly for us!
Hugs & Blessings,