Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | July 13, 2008

The Menu of our Lives

My friends and I used to talk about the idea that for many of us, music plays such an integral role in our lives that we often feel like we could write our own soundtrack to our life stories. You know, the songs that can immediately transport you back in time to a specific moment just by hearing the opening stanza–the song you had your first jr. high slow dance to with the boy you’d had a crush on all year, the worship song from the Mexico Missions trip where you sat in the dirt and wept, in awe of the goodness of God, the goofy popular song from each summer vacation you’d listen to on repeat driving around town with your best friends, the song you danced to at your wedding, a song played at a funeral, your first concert or any number of moments. Yes, for many of us in America music certainly does shape our lives. About a month ago though, I was reading a novel and I came across an intriguing idea. The main character is a chef, and so much in the way music shapes our lives, her life was shaped by food–meals she had prepared and consumed in key moments. There was one page where she rattled off a litany of the meals that had shaped her life–the meal she prepared the man she would one day marry for their first date, the food people brought at the death of her husband, the meal she had announced her engagement and pregnancies over–all these particular foods stuck out to her in the same way many of us connect music to moments. For me, I tend to think that the novels I read shape my life a little more than food, but I like reflecting on random things, so I started thinking, what are the meals that have shaped my last 26 years? Here are a few that stand out most prominently…and who knows, one of these days, when I have more procrastinating to do, I might come up with the soundtrack of my life, or the list of books that have made me who I am today as well…:)

**Grandma’s cinnamon rolls that we would eat for breakfast on every visit to her house; we’d sit and eat our ridiculously unhealthy breakfast (I do not know why anyone let that be our first meal of the day!) while watching the squirrels chase one another out the window.

**Oma’s pancakes–again not one particular moment stands out, but dad making my great-grandma’s crepe-like pancakes will forever be cemented in my heart–usually for dinner on nights mom would work and he’d be in charge of feeding Megan and I!

**Macaroni and Cheese with cut up hot dogs that our favorite baby sitter, Amy, used to make for us–it was our treat whenever she came, and to this day I still think hot dogs are best when cut up in bright orange cheese sauce!

**The Thanksgiving when the oven broke in Ginny & Mike’s kitchen and so we had to bbq shrimp and steaks, I’m not sure it went with cranberry sauce (my favorite part of Thanksgiving meals) quite as well as turkey does but it was certainly memorable!

**Eating lunch at Baja Fresh after Emily’s funeral with college friends. This stands out because in so many ways this was a normal meal–our group of friends going out to lunch together–yet it was drastically different, Emily wasn’t there.

**Eating quiche with my mentor, Dianne, at Swanson’s Nursery in Seattle when she looked at me and said for the first time “Sarah, you need to be a pastor, you may not believe this now, but God is calling you to seminary, He wants to see you using the gifts you have been given to serve Him.”

**The home made pizzas Sophie and I made three years ago for the other Presbyterian Women on campus–the pizza was good, but more significantly it was the first time in the 3 months I had been at Fuller that I really felt like I belonged, I fit in and I could make this place become home.

**The Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with the orange icing (which I actually don’t think I really like anymore!)–we couldn’t open presents on Christmas until we’d all eaten these!

**The pesto, chicken and pasta dish that Chuck made me on our first date, the night I had the continuous dialogue running through my head of: “is this a ‘real’ date? I don’t know, my friends think so, he’s made me a wonderful meal, he came and picked me up, he walked me home, but he is also a new student, he could just want friends, do I like him? I don’t know…” and on and on (if you are not a girl, this probably is not quite as applicable to you, but if you are, you probably have had a similar running conversation with yourself at some point in life!).

**This isn’t necessarily a specific ‘meal’ but the countless cups of coffee I have had with so many who have shared incredible pieces of their lives with me over lattes, mochas, and hot chocolates–stories of joy, of wedding planning, of grief, of pain, of abuse, of recovery, of questions, fears, conversations about God, moments of celebration, and moments of confusion. By letting me into these pieces of their lives, friends have caused me to change, have let their stories shape my life story. I could write a book on ways coffee shop conversations have shaped who I am today, and maybe I will someday, but for now, I’ll leave it there.

So, what are the meals that have shaped your life??


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