I was the first to arrive. I saw Paul's jacket from work laid neatly across a chair in the glassed in front porch, so I knew he had been home, but his car was gone again, and so was he. The door had been left unlocked for us though, so I walked in, kicked off my shoes and put the pizza I had just picked up onto the counter. I gently moved Paul's copy of The Daily Light and his glasses off the kitchen table and began to get out the things that would be needed for supper. It seemed a little weird to be putzing about in Belinda's kitchen without Belinda there, but at the same time it felt very comfortable - knowing that this is what she would want me to do. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria must have heard me because they soon appeared with smiling faces and freshly washed hair to help raid the fridge for juice, pop, and ice-cold water. Together we put out cutlery and drinking glasses. I thought out loud about using the smaller plates, but one of the girls said, "Omie would use the big ones" and the other echoed, "Yeah, Omie would use the big ones". I reminded them about the royal blue apron she sometimes wears with "What would Oma do?" emblazoned in white across the front and we laughed together as we took out the big ones. What choice did we have? She would want to make sure we had ample room on our plates. Yup, that's exactly what Omie would do.
By the time the others started arriving on schedule, the table was all laid out and ready. Not quite like Belinda would do it, and certainly not with the same amount of bounty but fairly adequate none the less. Lesley-Ann came in with a big salad, Ann and Samantha with containers of Jamaican jerk chicken brought from the city. Neena arrived with the other Susan and Michelle and carrying freshly baked banana bread. Paul had hobbled in on painful limbs and we bowed our heads together while he said grace. Then we ate together, laughing and talking - first filling up those big plates and then emptying them again. Paul's sterner voice, rarely heard, and reluctantly used, interrupted the laughter of two little girls whose behaviour was getting carried away after being goaded on by some of the adults. Little did Grandad know it was really the older "girls" who should have been corrected! Everyone promptly reigned themselves in and Tiffany-Amber and Victoria kept their secret to themselves. No tattle-tales they! Paul was teased about being in the kitchen with nine women while his wife was away but there was absolutely no worry there!
We tidied up a bit before gathering in the more comfortable chairs to watch our last episode of Alpha together. We talked, and then Paul prayed again before we all cleaned up together. Once everything was put to right, some of us stayed to talk with Paul for another half hour before we all dispersed into the night.
On the way home I thought about how good it had been to be together. And I thought about how it almost felt like Belinda had been there too. And then I remembered... She would have been praying for us as we gathered that night. I chuckled out loud as the thought bubbled up. No wonder it felt like she was there! After the laughter came a big sigh. There's such comfort in knowing someone is so faithful that you can count on certain loving actions from afar. Of course we would have felt her prayers. Of course she would have been praying for God's blessing to settle over us. Of course.
Isn't that just what Omie would do?
1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.