Most people associate sporting events with hotdogs, pretzels, popcorn or some other food that they come to expect as a ritual at games. Well, whenever I attend Carmel High School football games, I want Jamie’s brownies. They’re a relatively new phenomenon, but I have to tell you that they are really special.
You see, for years, Janet and I have attended Friday evening high school games. All three of our children graduated from Carmel and Kristin’s husband Jimmy is the Athletic Director at the school. For the past umpteen years, we sat in the west stands, the Carmel side of the stadium, but this year, we have moved away from the stands to a grassy knoll that is as close to tailgating as I will ever get. We bring our own chairs and our grandchildren run around and play little guy football or soccer with other kids while the adults talk and eat.
It makes for a great night of socializing and renewing acquaintances from years past. Andrew actually works up in the press box and is responsible for the music that is played periodically throughout the games. And we usually sit with Kristin, her three kids, and a host of people we have known for years. After all, Jimmy’s working! Mostly, they are Kristin’s friends from grade school and high school; and frankly, Kristin knows everybody. Partly from her role as Jimmy’s wife, but more from the fact that none of our children are wall flowers and they easily engage with others.
Anyway, Jaime Backer Miller is one of those people that we have known since she played on the high school tennis team with Kristin. That’s more than 20 years already and it still seems like yesterday that we met her for the first time. She has been a wonderful addition to our “family” and like most of Kristin’s friends, she interacts with us as readily today as she did back when we were cheering for her at the tennis matches. In fact, Janet and I never missed one of the girl’s tennis team meets their entire time in high school – for either Kristin or Jill, or Jaime for that matter.
So you can see that we are all close. When Jaime’s father died, we were there for her. We were at her wedding the day she married Brent and have watched their two boys, Sam and Alex, start to grow up. In fact, I think it is safe to say that Janet and I try to “watch over” Jaime and her family – without being too obvious. We pray for them and are always there if Jaime needs to talk with us about something. In fact, we both love her.
So the first time Jaime made brownies for a game earlier this fall, we were in for a real treat. They were great. Then the next time, Jaime brought brownies again. Suddenly, it wasn’t Carmel football without Jaime and her delicious snacks. Now I know that it sounds really presumptuous that we would expect that Jaime would bring these treats every game, but she did! Rain or shine, warm or freezing, when Jaime and the boys arrived, so did the brownies. Thank God! Now Jaime knows we love her and really look forward to seeing her, with or without her special brownies, but she is also one of those people who loves to serve others.
I could be wrong, but I think she gets a real kick out of knowing that so many of us appreciate her extra effort for us. One of the really neat things about all of us is that we really care for one another, even after all these years, and it shows. Now, generation after generation, we remain close and it is comforting to watch our grandchildren play together with Jaime’s kids the way the girls did when they were young. Those are the kind of relationships that last lifetimes.
This past Friday night, we arrived a little early. Kristin and her kids were there already when Janet and I arrived with our other daughter, Jill, and her son Drew. Now Jill has heard us rave about the brownies, but Jaime was nowhere in sight and Jill began to wonder if Jaime would show. Now to worry, I knew that we’d see her sooner or later. Sure enough, in she walked with the kids, her chairs and the traditional bag full of goodies she brings to each game.
Jill was a little skeptical. She really wanted the taste test. Well, Jaime served me first, which she always does, as you know that I have to make sure that the batch is up to par 😉
We all dug in and none of us was disappointed – and Jill became another devoted fan of Jaime’s home cookin’. It was 41 degrees out, the wind was howling, we were wrapped in blankets, hats, scarves and gloves, but none of us would miss those football brownies! And although I know Jaime has told Janet the secret, making them here at home just wouldn’t be the same. It’s one of those things, made special by Jaime’s love, that we just couldn’t duplicate here.
The verse tonight is a New Testament verse from 1 Tim 6:8, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” Certainly, along with shelter, they are the most important things to our physical survival on this earth. Paul was trying to make the point to his young protege that wealth can be difficult to deal with and that in Christ we should only be concerned with the necessities. My encouragement to you this evening is to affirm that God knows our need and will take care of us – even if it seems that we are alone and God is nowhere to be found…. Because He is always there. My prayer is that if you are struggling, you will present your petition to God, in no uncertain terms, and that God will answer your prayer. Furthermore, that He will make His presence known to you and that you will feel the grace and peace of God all the days of your life…..
By the way, Carmel won the semi-state game, so one more game this season – for the state title!