“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” –Ephesians 6:7

Weeks ago, perhaps a year or more, I was in the airport. Kodiak’s airport is very small. Living-room-sized, if we’re talking about a large living room.

In most airports, there is an air of quiet, of staying to yourself, of minding your own business. Don’t want anyone to think you’re a terrorist. They take those things seriously these days.

But our living-room airport is a happy muddle of comings and goings, hellos and good-byes, chatting and waiting. (And TSA agents as well, don’t get me wrong.)

I was waiting. I don’t remember if I was waiting for a coming or a going, but I saw a group of gentlemen waiting to leave. I knew they were leaving, because they had what seemed like fishing equipment, and they were dressed for Alaskan fishing. Either an expedition or a commercial fishing venture awaited them.

Some talked amongst themselves or to friends that unexpectedly happened to be in the joyous muddle that day; others in their group powered up laptops or read a book.

Then one man from the group, with a plastic bag in his hand, walked up to one of his cohorts. “Want a cookie?”

The cohort looked up from his laptop. “No, thanks! I’m absolutely stuffed. I’m not hungry at all.” (Or words to that effect.)

The first man replied. “These are Miss Pat’s cookies.”

The second immediately set aside his laptop. I could swear he looked embarrassed. He immediately took a cookie and called to another member of the group. “Hey, he’s got Miss Pat’s cookies over here.”

To a person, they each stopped their conversations in mid-sentence or stuck bookmarks in their books and strode over for one of Miss Pat’s cookies.

Serious business, these cookies!

These Alaskan fishermen would not have stopped what they were doing to eat an Oreo. It was not about the cookies.

No, it was about Miss Pat and her obvious love for these folks.

It all made me smile. I filed it away in my writer’s brain, and even made notes, which I since lost. I could be wrong in the details, and if so, forgive me, but I don’t think so, given what happened next, last week. [Yes, my granddaughter’s funeral was just last week. Seems forever ago to my heart. Time tends to expand and compress at will in these situations.]

We were at a reception following the funeral. I walked over to the buffet, and my sweet friend began giving me a mini-tour of the table.

“We have some ham over here, and some fruit and vegetables over there,” she explained as I filled my plate. “These—” she pointed to some generous, plump cookies, “—are Miss Pat’s cookies.” She went on to describe how hard Miss Pat worked to get the recipe just so, and what some of the ingredients were. I don’t remember.

Because the way she said “Miss Pat’s cookies” forced me to set down my plate. It was exactly what I’d heard that day in the airport, with the same note of respect, fondness and love all mixed together in her voice as the man in the airport.

It rang true in my spirit. It had to be the same person, despite my loss of details. How many Miss Pat’s in our small town could there be who made cookies to be talked about? (And they were yummy, believe me.)

The very love that came through in her cookies was there, in my friend’s house, adding to the web of love this island drew around Leah and Caleb—around us and Caleb’s family, too—during our time of mourning that is closing off a painful year or two in our family.

I got to meet Miss Pat! I got to tell her the airport story, to hug her and be hugged by her, to talk with her. If you knew her, you would wish you had been in my shoes, to feel the warmth of her love and the depth of her faith in Christ.

As she said to me, “The Lord is the one who bakes these cookies, you know.”

It truly was not about the cookies.

Blessings, Voni

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