Call me simple-minded. Call me a closet Christian…who is coming out, with vengeance towards none. Call me a person who has personally experienced the power of prayer, like when I had a mastectomy 11 years ago or got hit by a deer one year ago. Or listened one time to many to Bill O’Reilly and needed to calm down, before having a premature cardiac episode. Call me a foodie. Call me a multiplication table, and I don’t mean the math kind. I mean the kind that adds and forgets how to subtract, multiplies instead of dividing. Call me a persistent believer in spiritual solutions to material problems, particularly the one called hate-that-leads-to-hunger. Compartmentalizing my solution to all things won’t hurt me. Like a name, that is called and is supposed to hurt, coming up with a simple, doable, small solution to the trouble that wears the name of everything, can’t hurt me. Like a stick and a stone, pointed at my heart, names only tell me that my assailant has the despair I used to, before I committed the sin of salvation, went simple, and discovered that prayer at table can change everything. Salvation, by the way, is only a sin to the hoarders. They have everything to fear in the 99% coming into their own safety and everything to lose. We have only to multiply our force and our forces when we give thanks.
Every day I hear some version of this excuse for full living. “I wouda, if I coulda, but I can’t, so I didn’t.” Global warming has heard this excuse more than once, as has famine, as has homophobia, as has Islamophobia, racism, sexism and the persistent problem of people who forget to have fun with each other at table. In the place where gratitude and grace belong, fear and hatred have moved in. In the place where style might marry substance, long laughter lead to thicker community, good food make farmers proud, in the place of eucharist, with a capital and small letter e, in the place of great thanks, those of us who are well tabled have forgotten how to say it.
Thus my solution: give thanks at table, even if it is only a nod to the nurture. Give thanks at table, even if it is only one conscious breath coming in to go out, sustaining to seed. Give thanks at table, as though everything depended on it. You will live your way to seeing a simple truth: Everything does depend on it.