From time to time I receive invites for Meal Train. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is an online service that provides the opportunity to take meals to someone in need.
A friend or family member will create a Meal Train for someone recovering from a recent hospital stay, an injury, or has a new baby. It’s an excellent service and keeps the well-wishers on a schedule, and keeps the new mom from receiving five lasagnas on Tuesday.
It’s an efficient way to organize care and be of service. I feel it’s less about the meals (although that’s always a bonus) and more about feeling supported in community when we are vulnerable and in need.
Each time I see an invite to take a meal to a friend pop up in my email, I think of the many folks who haven’t had a Meal Train set up for them. The crushed places in them are much less visible. No one rings their doorbell at 6:00 pm to hand over a warm rotisserie chicken and crisp salad.
It’s much less socially acceptable to post:
Sign up to bring Sue a meal. She’s recently started having flashbacks of childhood abuse, and she’s overwhelmed with the terror. She’s allergic to nuts.
Than it is to post:
Sign up to bring Julie a meal. She’s scheduled to be home after surgery on Thursday, and the doc says she’ll be down for about three weeks. She is gluten free.
I look forward to the day when expressing our emotional turmoil is as judgement-free as having a broken ankle.
Connections will be stronger, days more fulfilling, and healing faster when neither psychological nor physical trauma induces shame.
I’m not suggesting we need to share every experience on social media. I am suggesting; however, we consider why it’s easy to take flowers to a co-worker after her car accident, but so much more difficult to inquire about the neighbor whose husband moved out last week.
Perhaps the former is a gesture of kindness that feels simple, and the latter pokes too much at our own open wounds. Both need care. One is just a bit easier to pretend we didn’t see. Let’s purpose to care for wounds that are harder to see. Let’s seek out those who feel unseen.
Maybe we need to start an I’ll-Just-Sit-Right-Here-With-You Train. I’d sign up for that.