Saturday, June 19, 2010

Feeding the missionaries

I love feeding the missionaries. It makes me happy. For years I have told every set of missionaries who serve in my ward to call me if they ever need food. While we have them over for dinner as often as we can, I tell them at dinner that they can call me on a moment’s notice and I will feed them. In over 10 years since, no one has ever taken me up on my offer.

Until tonight.

At 4:19pm my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it anyway. It was Elder B. He asked me how I was doing and gently asked if I remembered my offer that to feed them if they needed it I told him I remembered. He said, “Well, I hate to ask, but the family who was supposed to have us for dinner just cancelled.” He started to continue, but the mother in me interrupted and asked, “Can I make you dinner?” He was so sweet and sincere in his reply. I told them that it was not a problem at all, except that my husband would not be home for dinner. I asked if I could make them dinner and bring it to them. Again, he was so sweet and sincere in his reply. He did not want to bother me. I assured him that it was not a bother (as I still had to make dinner for me and my own boys) and that I wanted to do this. I was so grateful and happy that they took me up on my offer. I told them that I would have dinner to them around 6pm.

I made them dinner and dessert (because I like to eat something sweet after dinner). As I approached the house with the food, I paused a moment and through the window saw that Elder B was sitting at a counter reading. He looked content, yet sad. Does that make sense?

Knowing that they were hungry and waiting, I rang the doorbell. As he looked up, I could see the genuine gratitude in his face. It warmed my heart. He answered the door, and I brought the food to the kitchen. The other Elder expressed his gratitude as well. They were so sincere in their appreciation. I assured them that it was my pleasure to feed them.

Still, I could not help but notice that there was something so lonely about them tonight. Maybe it was because tomorrow is Father’s Day. Maybe it was the quiet of the house. Maybe it was me.

Maybe it was that I was imagining my own sons on their missions. And maybe it was the pending loneliness that I was feeling thinking of these future events. Whatever it was, I walked away from the missionaries home with an extreme sense of gratitude for the work that these young men. They do not need to be grateful for my bringing them food. It is I who am grateful for the opportunity to serve them. They serve selflessly. They serve honorably. As a mother of sons, this continually increases my faith. My only hope and prayer in feeding the missionaries is that in 9 years and 11 years, when my own sons are serving missions, they always be fed by someone who appreciates them. That they will always be fed by someone who wants to feed them, who wants to serve them.