I recently had a seminary assignment to write about a food memory that has had an impact on my faith. Once finished, it seemed like a story worth sharing. Enjoy!
As a little girl (I am in the middle on Daddy’s lap!) I learned that from the fellowship of a meal, joy can flow from the most unlikely circumstance. My siblings and I still reminisce at family gatherings about the dreaded day of the month when my mom would prepare liver for dinner. Absolutely no one liked it, and the moans and protests would begin as soon as we all caught a whiff of liver fumes escaping the kitchen. Those dinners were awful and hilarious all at once. On these nights, usually an entire bottle of ketchup was used to smother the liver steaks so that we could bear to chew, swallow and repeat.
On one particular night in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, there was a liver uprising. My parents fostered children in state custody who for a variety of sad reasons, could not go home. So, there were 8 or so of us at the dinner table. As we all sat around the table attempting to eat what we were told starving children would happily consume, one of the kids said, “Hey, something just hit my leg!” Then it happened again a few minutes later. It wasn’t long before my parents figured out that one liver culprit was tossing liver under the table to the dog, but a few pieces did not hit their intended target!
Although eating our entire dinners was serious business in those days, it wasn’t long until my mom gave up the liver crusade and we breathed a collective sigh of relief to return to steak, roast and ground beef portions of the cow. And, I cannot think of another meal in my family that has generated as much laughter, exaggerated retellings and sense of joy at family gatherings for our own kids to hear. Who knew that God could use a sliver of liver to bring levity and belonging to a family with children who needed more memories around the dinner table, even if it tasted terrible.