I quickly polished off the salty meal and stared warily at the neon pink pudding on my hospital food tray.
Luckily the lady beside me – I’ll call her Pam – loves the colour pink. Pam has dementia and doesn’t talk a lot. I turned to her. “Pam, do you want my pink pudding?”
She ate it with gusto. It disappeared in a few seconds. I looked around the long table in the psychiatric ward to see if anyone else’s stomach had turned at the sight of the unnaturally coloured dessert. Everyone stared at their food disenchanted, but I don’t think the food was the real problem.
Instead of pudding, I enjoyed the apple juice and tea. The meals were sub-par and only staved off the raging appetite caused by the side effects of the anti-psychotic medicine. It was my first time in an adult mental hospital, and I was a teenager. I didn’t know how long I would be there, but I could at least rely on Pam to eat my questionable desserts.
Food has such meaning and memory for me. Now, one of my favourite desserts, besides ice cream, chocolate and pie ... okay, the list could go on … is mango pudding. My sweet tooth is a weakness I can’t hide. It’s funny that the pink pudding was so disgusting to me, whereas the sunshine yellow pudding brings me joy. I love eating it, making it, and sharing it.
At a baptism for my friend’s daughter, I enjoyed the feast after the beautiful sacrament. I had just finished eating a few cubes of mango pudding and thought to myself, “If only I could have more mango pudding!”
Then I received a text message from another friend. “Are you home? I have something to bring to you.” I let her know when I would be home so she could swing by. I could have easily walked back to the dessert table to fill my craving but instead continued in conversation with the friends at my table.
An hour later, I opened my door, and to my surprise she was standing there holding a large container of ... mango pudding. I think my heart skipped a beat. And then it donned on me. The Lord hears all our thoughts, wishes, and prayers. If he can answer such a little, insignificant desire of mine, how much more will he grant the bigger desires of my heart?
Giggling, I welcomed my friend in for a quick cup of tea. After chatting with her, I shared my story and asked for her recipe. It is a family recipe, but she kindly shared it with me. Making mango pudding and sharing it at parties or with friends and family gives me so much happiness.
From an aversion to neon pink pudding in the hospital to a fondness for the fruity and creamy mango pudding, I marvel at how the dessert acted like a messenger. That God has better and more delicious plans for me than I have for myself. With God there is abundance. With God there is communion.
My hunger for more moves me to reach outside of myself. If I bake banana bread, I give some away. Lively family dinners are a regular affair. Eating lunch with colleagues refreshes my spirit for the rest of the day. Trust that God will give good gifts.
Here’s to dessert and to the divine!
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