Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed are those who trust in God!(Psalm 34:8)
As the days grow shorter and the pandemic continues longer, I find myself thinking about the times, people, and places that brought me immense joy. Their portraits are a little dusty in the hallways of my mind but they take me from a place of anxiety and boredom to a place overlooking the valleys and hills.
One of those special memories is of Fannie Davis. Fannie was a retired speech pathologist for schools in and around Charleston, West Virginia. Fannie provided me with a lovely room overlooking the Elk River in Clendenin during the summer of 1972. There I assisted churches providing pulpit support when pastors took time for vacation, organized youth activities, and visited families in the hollers.
Following that first Sunday service, Fannie invited nearly twenty people to her home for dinner so that I might quickly become acquainted. Dinner was served family-style: fried chicken, dumplings, corn, tomatoes, grits, and wilted lettuce.
As a Connecticut Yankee attending college in North Carolina, this meal was not a surprise but a delight until the large bowl of wilted lettuce was passed to me. I asked what is this, and I was told- wilted lettuce. My heart began to race a little, remembering that my mother would throw away lettuce when it began to wilt! I guess the look on my face gave note to the guests that this was going to be a stretch for me! The laughter that ensued at my reaction still brings me a smile. They all said “you cannot know the delight you are missing! Fannie’s wilted lettuce is the best!”
On one hot evening that summer, Fannie brought me a night time treat of fresh strawberries from her garden placed on a sweet biscuit with cream. Her wide grin at my approval was met with the words “Doesn’t things from God’s Garden taste good!”
That might be the best theological expression I have ever heard.
As we move through the winter season I hope you can recall simple words from special people that brighten your day too.
Rev. Rich Kirschner is a retired minister and member of Naples UCC since 2017. He is graciously leading New Chapters Men’s Spirituality Group, which meets every on Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m. via Zoom. If you are interested in attending, be sure to check the Wednesday e-blast for the Zoom link.
For everyone who is feeling a bit wilted
Lord, we pray not for tranquility,
Nor that our trials may cease;
We pray for your spirit and your love,
That we might delight in your grace and taste its delights.