August 4, 2011: Home Cooking

It’s Thursday afternoon, and I can smell chicken cooking in the oven.

Stella is feeling great, the kids are home, and she is making everyone’s favorite dishes for Shabbat.

When people cook for you and bring over prepared food, it’s very nice. We really can’t thank everyone enough who has helped out. But it’s been too long since we have had the smell of cooking chicken waft through the house on a Thursday afternoon. The smell tells me more than that we are all going to have a nice dinner on Friday night. It makes our home feel special and wonderful and that everything is o.k.

I’m not naive. I know too well that some things are not right at all.

On Monday, we are going in for the next round of chemo. We will smile and greet the other Monday cancer patients and then settle in for a day’s worth of strange colored medicine that will drip from a bag on a pole into Stella’s body. But I’ll tell you something a little hard to believe:

Stella is looking forward to it.

It’s not that she’s a glutton for punishment — although she has been married to me for over twenty years ;). No, she is confident that the chemo is working and that it is gaining the upper hand over the evil cancer cells. She wants to give them all another dose of killer chemo.

I watched some old “24” episodes. How many times did Jack Bauer tell the arch-terrorist to “go to hell” before sending him there? That’s Stella — the Jack Bauer of cancer.

I only wish I was as strong as her.

True, she has never run a marathon or completed the ALYN ride. But I learn every day more and more about Stella’s inner-strength. Unlike me, she never feels the need to brag about her accomplishments. She has never said (or written on a blog): “Hey, I just set a personal best by cooking and delivering fourteen chesed meals in less than four hours!”

She has never sought out or even been comfortable with people praising her. She has never hesitated for a moment when someone needs help, yet she is uncomfortable receiving anything in return.

So while I sit here, sometimes worried out of my mind, she is aiming her mental gun at all the cancer terrorists and telling them where they can go.

Friends, if there isn’t one there already, stick a chicken in the oven and realize how wonderful it is to have a home cooked meal with the people you love.

Shabbat Shalom.


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