NOURISHMENT - A SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS
As I left my driveway early on a Saturday morning I said a little prayer to “Please help me make a difference today.” I was on my way to help a friend who had requested I teach the Saturday morning breakfast volunteers at the Warrior Family Support Center (WFSC) at BAMC to make omelets. Many of the wounded soldiers had requested omelets and no one knew how to make them. After three and a half hours of my steadily making eighty omelets for the soldiers, no one had learned, nor had time to learn, how to make them. I had been knee deep in mushrooms, spinach, cheese, green onions, ham and eggs (19 dozen eggs to be exact.) I began to think I was set up. Ya think? The parting comment as I was leaving was “will you be able to do this every Saturday?”
As three of us volunteers waited at the kitchen entrance of the WFSC for the ‘gal with the key,’ soldiers were already sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs waiting for breakfast. Bacon, scrambled eggs, French toast, pancakes, beans and chorizo for burritos and my omelets, juice and hot coffee! As we hurriedly set up, got the coffee on, bacon frying, and hash browns in the skillet, the doors opened. And in came the soldiers, some burned, some amputees, some exhausted from the nightmares of PTSD, but all just plain hungry – for good ole’ home cookin’!
Now you have to realize, I live alone. It has been along time since I even cooked breakfast for myself, much less anyone else. So the onslaught was energizing and exciting and ultimately exhausting.
But the comments fed my fire! “It smells just like home!” “I haven’t had an omelet for years, no forever, or so it seems.” Eighty seven breakfasts were served. And of course, there were breathtaking moments that made the ache in my back and the pain in my feet vanish.
One soldier said, “This is the best omelet I ever ate.” Another soldier, with his arm shattered and held by two fixators, ate three 3-egg omelets and two huge burritos. After serving him his third omelet, I handed him one of my Pockets of Peace books for the wounded warriors and he sat reading it while he ate. He later came into the kitchen to tell me he really wanted another omelet but just had ‘no where to put it.’ His mama would have been proud, as he asked to help wash the dishes! His comments about the book … well… “It is perfect, it is visually perfect and makes sense. Thank you for writing it and for caring.” It just doesn’t get any better than that. Or so I thought, until a mother of another soldier came up to me and asked for a plain cheese omelet to take back to her son in his room. He had just had another chemo and radiation treatment for cancer, and she thought he might enjoy an omelet. I packed it up, covered it with foil and prayed this small act of kindness would help. His mom later came back to tell me he had devoured it. “It is the only thing he has shown any interest in eating. Thank you.”
On this day after Thanksgiving, nourishing those who protected us was an honor. And yes, I guess I did make a small difference. But in reality, as usual, our soldiers made more of a difference to me. I now had a family to cook for.
This day nourishment was born in a very special sanctuary with a very simple act of kindness.