When I moved out of the dorms and had to learn to cook not just once in a while, for amusement, but every single night, tuna melts were one of my first regular meals. They’re delicious, tuna melts, a magical marriage of mayonnaise and meltiness, all bound together with fish. I also add pineapple, which is apparently a controversial move. Two years ago, I introduced tuna melts to the Austrian women on whose farm I was staying for the summer. They liked it so much, pineapple and all, that they asked me to write down the recipe (in German!) before I left.
On this busy Monday I chose running over grocery shopping, and now I’m in a hurry and low on supper options. Not true, I remind myself, staring into a cupboard stuffed with canned goods. The lurking tomato soup that I don’t love, several types of pasta I can’t eat, and a fortress of canned tuna.
What I don’t have is bread.
I haven’t had bread since last fall, actually, when I gave up eating wheat products and it dramatically improved my health and well-being. This has plenty of dour implications for the future, since two months from today I’ll be moving to a continent fed by bread and pasta, but now it’s just annoying.
The trouble with bread is that, beside tasting good, it’s just the thing we put stuff on. Good or not, it’s a vehicle for taste, for the melting tuna that I desire. What’s for breakfast? French Toast. What’s for lunch? A sandwich. How should I eat this butter? On bread, of course.
Frustrated, I give up on the tuna and open the freezer to assess my other options. And it’s then that I remember the waffles. They are sweet and breakfasty, appropriately holey, and contain not a grain of wheat. Within a few minutes, I’m happily settling in to a melted mountain atop a waffle foundation.
Maybe it’s a stretch to imagine that gluten-free waffles are divinely inspired, but as I ate the delicious meal, it felt like a collaboration between God and Trader Joe’s to make this evening better. I’d never have thought to put tuna on a waffle, but it’s fine. Better than fine.
And I’m thinking about how often gifts from God are like that. Not necessarily what I asked for, but something I’d never have considered if it hadn’t jumped in front of me. It’s encouraging, in this odd time of busy planning and uncertainty, to remember that the path ahead may take me to unexpected places, but that God is there, knowing what I need. Whether it is financial provision to teach at Black Forest Academy or energy to be fully present during my last months in Seattle, I am confident that the Lord who’s brought me through so many places will continue to provide.
And that occasionally, perhaps, because God knows me, that might amount to a tuna melt on a gluten-free waffle.