This is just a quick follow up to what I was saying about food and community yesterday.
The regular mealtime practice for our family is to eat our meals together. Occasionally, someone will have something going in the evening that keeps us from all gathering. But missing dinner, at least in this phase of life, is more the exception than the norm.
Sometimes we play a little sharing game around the dinner table. We call it “high/low.” I think we ripped it off some movie or something. Anyway, it is a pretty simple concept (as most have to be for us Chinos), we go around the table and everyone shares their high-light and low-light from the day.
One of the “high” responses that is relatively common is “right now.” And by that they mean this meal that we are sitting down and enjoying together. No doubt that is largely due to Alison’s mad cooking skills, but I have to believe that there is something about actually sitting at the table with one another over a meal and sharing a small slice of our lives with each other that they can recognize as good, even if they wouldn’t use those words to describe it.
I love it because it is maybe the only time during the day when we are gathered around the table looking into each others’ faces. Even when we pray together in the mornings, we tend to be spread out in our living area and looking down or have our eyes closed. The table forces us to sit near one another and for however long we sit, we engage one another.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Some of the interaction at the table is less than stellar. And sometimes it is downright mean. But even that is a blessing of sorts. Our unvarnished selves… the highs and lows of our character… out there to be dealt with.
And to the degree that all this is true, mealtime becomes a transformational event. Like I said… eating is a spiritual matter.