Accept the sandwich

Photo by buzzymelibee/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

“Do you want a pork sandwich?”

I paused in my frantic packing and last-minute to-doing. My cross-country flight was in two hours. The drive to the airport would take one. By my standards we were late, and the lateness was all I could focus on, yet here was my husband asking me if I wanted a roast pork-and-peppers sandwich for the trip.

“I can make one for you right now," he said. "It’s no trouble.”

“No, don’t worry about it, I’ll do it myself in a few minutes.”

He looked at me standing in the hallway, caught between rooms and tasks, and blinked. Without saying more, he went downstairs. Relieved to be left alone to it, I resumed my rush.

Ten minutes later I barreled down the steps—“Remember to bring the CSA bag with you on Wednesday! Would you mind changing the sheets while I'm gone? I still have to pick up the wedding cards...”—and ran into the kitchen. There he was with car keys in one hand and a beautiful bagged homemade sandwich ready to go, along with two granola bars and an apple.

I exhaled. Said thank you. Put the food in my carry-on. Enjoyed it on the flight. And thought with each chew how different life is when you don’t have to do it all yourself.

The path to sandwich acceptance has been winding for me. Part of it has to do with ceding control (an ongoing lesson for me in marriage and in life), but a bigger part concerns allowing my partner to serve me. What I perceive as extra work is for him an act of service, done out of love, care, and the much-appreciated desire to bring me joy and comfort. (Not to mention forestalling my formidable and legendary “hanger.”) His gesture has nothing to do with the sandwich and everything to do with partnership.

We have a lifetime to perfect offering and accepting the sandwich. May the journey always be so delicious.

Prayer#304: Love is Not a Condiment

Love is not a condiment. It is not separate or extra or packetable or pocketable. It is not added later at one’s own discretion. It is not left on the table to grow stale or sticky. It does not expire, and it cannot be sold.

Love, rather, is the main course. It’s baked in, inseparable from the meal. Your server brings it to you sometimes with intention, other times by accident, but it always arrives nonetheless. At your favorite places, love is “the usual”—no order necessary.

Love is what sustains you, long after you’ve finished.