I thought it was interesting that she should mention the preparation of a feast and inviting guests to come to it and how important the preparation of a meal and an invitation to participate seems to be across cultures and religions.
I have been spending the majority of the last few days preparing a special type of meal, called an almsgiving, to which I had invited the Buddhist monks from the Temple to attend and family and friends to participate.
My friend R stayed the night with me, last night, and we did as much of the cooking as we could do ahead of time. This morning, R and I prepared the rest of the meal, warmed up all the curries that had been prepared earlier.
Rice sticks (noodles) with vegetables
Bread and butter
Curried garbanzo beans (and plain boiled ones for the one monk who is unable to eat spicy food)
Cucumber/tomato/red onion salad with hard boiled eggs, halved
Sauted green beans
Mallung (shredded greens - kale - with coconut)
Pappadum (fried lentil wafers)
- Variety of candies/sweets - thala guli (sesame and jaggery candy), chocolates, brownies, mini eclairs, individual chocolate mousse desserts
- Variety of fresh fruits, cut up (grapes, apples, papaya, persimmons, tangerines)
- Yogurt and treacle
- Orange Juice, water, hot water for the one monk who prefers hot water.
Before the monks arrived, I covered the living room sofas with white sheets as is our custom:
|"Who is on the covered sofas?"|
|"I'm hiding my face so Mummy can't see me!"|
Fortunately, I was able to dust the sheets off before the monks arrived! In any case, the monks like cats and there is a cat in the temple.
Everything was ready by 10:30 a.m., when cousin V, her husband N, and cousin P arrived. We had a few minutes to chat, before the monks arrived at 11:00 a.m. I bade them to enter in a more formal manner than I had greeted my cousins. They brought the reliquary which we placed on the top of the tall, round side table in front of the bookcase (it is covered with a gold cloth). The tray of offerings, vase of flowers, etc. were placed on the trolley table in front of it. Blessings were said, and I mentioned my friend Tania and others who needed special blessings. Afterwards, the monks were served their lunch. My cousins and friend R helped with the serving.
|Monks Having their Lunch|
After the monks had eaten their lunch, they gave a sermon (on the subject of the reality of change or impermanance), merits accrued from the almsgiving were transferred to our departed loved ones, and more blessings were chanted to bless everyone, including friend T and others.
None of my Buddhist relatives or friends were able to attend my almsgiving, this year. Cousin P, Cousin V and her husband, and friend R are all Catholic. But, they came to help me and served the monks and listened to the sermon which followed. As my daughter put it, I participate in their Rosary prayer gatherings and they participate in my almsgivings.
After the monks left, we had lunch. Then, cousin P left, but, cousin V, her husband, and friend R stayed to help me put away the food, remove the chair covers, put some of the furniture back in place, etc. I packed up some food for them to take home, as well.
Then, I packed another container of food and we all went to the hospital to visit friend T (cousin V and her husband gave friend R and me a ride). The food was for her sister and other family members. We went in one by one, since only two at a time were allowed in her room, and her boyfriend was already there. And that's where the answered prayer part of my post title comes in! Friend T, who was unresponsive yesterday, was up! Off the ventilator and breathing on her own! Responsive! Talking! She has a weakness in her right side, but, she not paralyzed! For someone who was given a 50/50 chance, she seems to have beaten the odds! She thanked me for coming to see her! We were all so happy! I asked her sister when the ventilator was taken out and she said, shortly after 12 noon! I know she had a lot of people praying for her and we are all convinced that her recovery is in answer to all our prayers! It is nothing short of a miracle!
Then, we all came back to my house for a little bit. After cousin V and her husband left, I drove friend R home. I was tired after I came home, so, had a cup of tea and rested a bit. Then, I dished up some of the almsgiving food to take over to my neighbor S, across the street, but, when I called her to tell her I was bringing over some food for her, she said she was just about to bring me some Armenian food her mother had made! So, she came over with her food and I gave her some of my food and we both laughed about our food exchange.
I called cousin P to give her the good news about friend T (she and her daughter had gone to see T, yesterday, and cousin P had said she was shocked to see her like that) and also called the Temple and spoke to the monks and told them the good news about friend T. They were so happy to hear it.
Then, I put away the last remaining bits of food and washed all the dishes and pans! One load in the dishwasher and the rest by hand. I will put them away, tomorrow, and do the laundry, tomorrow, too.
Cousin P called me later in the evening to check on me and we chatted for a long time. Friend R called, too, to say she felt guilty about leaving me to do the washing up by myself, but, I told her she had been more than helpful with all the prep work. Besides, she has to go to work, tomorrow, while I have the whole day to put things away, etc.
Today, I am grateful for:
- Friend T's miraculous recovery
- The almsgiving went off very well
- My cousins and friend participating and helping me
- A working dishwasher!
- Neighbor S bringing me more food!
Monday's To Do List:
- Put away washed dishes
- Iron the table covers and cloth napkins
- Return the last few pieces of furniture to their usual places (the trolley table has to come back to the family room, one dining chair needs to be returned to the table, etc.
- Cover the family room sofas with dust sheets (those covers were taken off before the almsgiving, today)
- Take the trash cans to the curb
- Do as much erasing of evidence as possible
Thank you, everyone, who said you will keep friend T in your thoughts and prayers. I want you to know that our prayers on her behalf have been answered!
How was your Sunday? What are your plans for Monday?