Serving from the Soul…

An unexpected meal most wonderfully prepared by one of my Iraqui students to whom I teach English and work with her children.

When I asked did you want breakfast, I thought that meant we’d stop at a restaurant along the way. I didn’t think we’d have time for you to make a meal. I didn’t even expect you to offer!

Admittedly, I tried to get out of it. You know, we Americans are always very, very busy. I have a lengthy to do list every day… Shamefully typical.

But you wouldn’t have it. Even when I told you I needed to stop by the office first, you insisted that I come. When you punctuated it with, “I’ll wait for you,” I thought, “How rude of me, to consider not going – what am I thinking,” and as I hurried to meet you, I was blown away.

As two petite women, I couldn’t believe how much food you prepared just for us! That platter seemed the size of 12 of my dinner plates at home.

I wondered, how long did it take?

How much did it cost?

What work was involved?

How’d you make it from scratch?

Why did you make so much?

The answer to all I think – is because it was from your heart.

It was among the best things I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve eaten a lot)!

It was the first breakfast I ever ate without dishes and silverware.

I’ve never seen coffee prepared the way you did nor flatbread toasted right in front of me.

And as we had the most prolific conversation we’ve shared in the year and a half that I’ve known you, I simply marvelled.

How fiery is your spirit amidst the many challenges you’ve faced. I can’t believe your mother had her first child in marriage at the age of 13. I’m old enough to be your mom though we look so close in age, and while we both have four children, you have a six year old sibling.

I can’t believe your family told you…you’re too old and uneducated to pursue your dreams of being a nurse. I strongly disagree…!

You could choose to stay home and have more children as they suggested, but I know that you’d rather fulfill your goals right now. In our country, that’s perfectly alright. It’s why I agreed to help you because I believe anything is possible.

Thank you for the kind words that you mustered as you struggled to find your best English words to relay such authentic messages.

Thank you for the food you prepared – that you fussed at me about because you wanted me to eat more. I promise, I was so full, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stand up (smile).

I am convinced you poured your passion on that platter. Your culinary expertise is a testament to your culture.

Your kindness seasons every sumptuous bite.

You serve far less with your hands, and much more with your soul.