Tonight when I came into the house there was a pot of hot chicken noodles on the kitchen bar. Wonderful delight! No. My husband didn’t cook supper. His idea of cooking is a sack of Sonic sandwiches or a bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes, and I’m not unappreciative of that, mind you; he could be the kind of husband who insists upon my cooking supper at six—sharp. Of course that would mean no academic team practice and we would never make it to the area tournament and my team of brilliant young minds would …but back to the subject, the noodles. One of our parishioners had brought them by, somehow guessing that I’d soar into ecstasy. Have you ever been overwhelmed with unnatural kindness-- People rushing over to shed caring upon you so that you feel like a lizard in the sun? Well, that's Christmas around here. My students bring hot cocoa and little coffee singles and notes that sing affection. At church the cards and letters pile into my lap. The school board had a banquet for us and the superintendent's wife cooked breakfast for all the teachers this morning--coffee cake and quiche and frozen fruit cups. I just want to say sometimes: "Enough! You are being too nice! I will never, ever be able to do enough good to deserve it all. Don’t you know that I’ve been surly and grumpy and certainly not worth one raspberry of all this?” Yet they come with gifts and I decide to be worthier and I work harder and I love more and I give all I can. Not food. It’s a skill that eludes me. I can pray, and I can teach, and I can say, “That’s really splendid…you’ve put so much into this assignment,” and in the eyes of all my students I see sparkles. Those are my noodles I guess.
One of the seventh-grade girls tiptoed silently into my room at lunch today. She didn’t say a word, just walked over and gave me a smile and a hug. I read her mind. It said: “Glad you’re back. I missed you Friday while you were at the funeral. I know you missed me too. Sorry you were sad. Your friend is gone. But I’m here.”
More noodles. Who am I, God, to deserve such joy?