Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to help in crisis Or how salsa found a ministry

Did you know that salsa has a ministry? If you love salsa like I do, you probably already know that. One of the best things I've learned through our recent crisis craziness of 2012 is how to minister to others. This is due entirely to the way so many have ministered to us and loved us really, really well.

Have you ever wondered what you could do to help someone in crisis? What do they need? Me, too. I have often been paralyzed to help because I didn't know what to do. Often the person in crisis doesn't know what they need either.  I often have not been brave enough to do anything. Those missed opportunities make me sad.

Now, I realize that I could help by doing something small. Do something in proportion to your relationship with them. Yet, the better you know someone, the better you can love them. It can be an email or a card in the mail.

Offer what you can do for them. "I'm going to the grocery store or running errands today. Can I pick up something for you while I'm out?". If they say no, accept it and move on. If they say, "Yes. Could you get some milk?" Ask what kind, buy it and deliver it.

Sometimes in crisis, you just need to know someone cares. Showing up with their favorite whatever can communicate just that. Put please do it in a non-obtrusive way. Mail it. Stop by to simply drop it off -- unless they indicate that they need you to stay and talk and just be there. Otherwise, plan to be quick.

Life is so exhausting in crisis and time to sleep, rest, or just be unstimulated is sparse. Be sensitive. They may need company. They may need a break. Each moment is different. It can change quickly. Even as quick as walking from the parking garage to the waiting room kind-of quick. 

Nevertheless, sometimes the need is salsa. Really it is.

One night two of my sisters-in-laws were coming over while my father-in-law was in the hospital. I wanted to minister to them. I would make salsa. I know they like my recipe because each of them has called me more than once for the recipe. I would be bringing their favorite whatever.

I knew I had hit the mark on the money when they showed up with salsa, too!! It was a lovely. Mutual encouragement indeed. I loved them. They loved me, too. Together, we enjoyed the ministry of salsa that night.

I don't remember the particulars of how my father-in-law was that night or why logistics caused them to come to my house. I do know that those of us doing the care giving needed moments like this outside of the hospital. It helped us tremendously to be together, doing something "normal." Usually laughter was included. 

Yes, laughter exists in crisis. It helps to deal with the stress. It helps to bond the caregivers in the craziness that abounds as the normal of the crisis season. It's a can-you-believe-this?-kind of laughter.

A picture during the medical crisis last fall of my mother-in-law, my husband's sister, our sister-in-law and me.
Salsa also exists in crisis and it is good to remember that once-in-awhile. Especially as it is a highlight moment from last fall -- an evening in the ministry of salsa between my salsa sister-in-laws.

Here is the favored Black Bean Salsa Recipe, as close as I can to how I make it since I eyeball it and taste it a lot, tweaking it to my liking.

2 cans of black beans, rinsed & drained
2 cans of corn, drained
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
tomatoes, chopped & seeded, sometimes not seeded, usually 3-6 tomatoes
garlic, lots, usually minced from a jar
lime juice, lots
salt & pepper, lots
Mix together. The longer you let it marinade, the better. But we almost always dig in right away. 

What have you found is helpful in a long-term crisis, such as a loved one in the hospital for months? What advice would you offer?


  1. This is awesome! You are right -- sometimes I feel paralyzed to help, too. This gives me a great word picture to remember how I can help someone in need. Saving your recipe, too! Sharing on Twitter!!

    1. Jen, you'll have to tell me if you like the recipe. Thanks for sharing on Twitter.

  2. I agree with Jen...this is awesome! I recently brought friends in where in a crisis some homemade bread. It was a beautiful moment when I went to leave and they said, "when can you come again?" Oh I was there the following night with bread again. I love your salsa recipe and will need to give that a try too. Thanks for sharing this and thanks for visiting my place today.

    1. I love that your friends asked when you were coming again with bread. Yum!


Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

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