Today I was reminded of the gift of celery soup.
Cream of Celery, that is, and it is over five years ago that I made a rather large potful.
This is not a soup I make often, in fact I’m not sure I have made it since. But that day I had brought home a large bag of celery, leftovers from my dear nephew’s memorial service.
The memory is a sad one, but also one of God’s provision. For his sudden death devastated our family, and a wide circle of his friends. He is in our hearts and lives in our memory.
And as families tend to do, we gathered together and each were able to help in his or her own way. I was faced with the challenging task of organizing a memorial tea for 1500 people. But the provision was great, and many groups and individuals stepped forward donating food in remembrance of my nephew, Chris.
So much food in fact, that after we fed the many people who came to pay tribute to his life, we had enough for two van-loads of food to deliver to the Salvation Army. And we sent another batch of sandwiches to the East Side in Vancouver that night, food for the hungry.
But there was still leftovers, and I came back to Vernon, where I live, with a bunch of celery, donated by one of the farmer’s markets my brother knows well.
And I made soup. Comfort food.
That week I visited a grandmother who was grieving her grandson. A Canadian soldier who had recently died in Afghanistan. How sad she was, and we looked at pictures, and thought about this dear young man she loved. And in my own grief, we shared the common bond of mourning… of young life ended too soon…and I was grateful for the visit we shared. And was glad to bring her some soup, I had lots!
And then she told me her favourite soup was… cream of celery. It was one of those “wow” moments, where a little thing like soup was a gift of God’s presence and comfort.
Today, as we approach Remembrance Day, I happened to run into this precious grandma. Five and a half years later, just as we approach this day we honour our soldiers. And together we reminisced about the story. We talked of her dear grandson, and our shared grief over those we love.
And it was good to be reminded how a bowl of soup brought comfort that day, and how our meeting again brought warmth to both of our worlds, as we remember.