‘Dear Father God, thank You for this food and for this chance to be together. Amen.’
At the corner table by the window of a Spanish restaurant, it was a moment of shared private gratitude, quietly spoken in public. Spread over the table in front of us were tomato drizzled patates bravas and chorizo, two types of paella, two salads, garlic soaked mushrooms, crispy fried squid, and sea bass dressed with raspberry vinaigrette. Homemade mint lemonade flavoured with mango or passionfruit waited to wash it down.
But everything paused for the familiar words before we dug in.
A family tradition established over decades and generations, it would be easy not to pause within the pause, to take the time to both think about the meaning of the words and to mean the meaning. Perhaps because we are less frequently a family of four now, when we do meet (and that almost always involves a meal), I have a deeper sense of appreciation. These words my husband prays with no introduction, a simple reminder of the presence of Another at every meal we eat, also link us to past generations who taught us the habit with much the same words. I hope my boys continue the habit, alone and when they have their own families.
It was a delicious meal, with personable helpful waiting staff, a relaxed reunion of our little family in a convivial atmosphere. We appreciated the skill in the cooking and new flavour combinations. We were grateful for a whole day of togetherness in the Spring sunshine – chatting in the car, sharing falafel wraps and whirly ice cream in a park, enjoying the view of a host of hellebores and daffodils painting the grass with colour, a cup of tea in our son’s digs, finishing with this meal in an evening still full of light since the clocks went forward.
It’s easy to take the everyday for granted, to forget what a blessing it is to have daily food, let alone in such creative abundance, and loved ones to share it with. I’m learning this year, as I fill my Blessings Jar, to stop and take notice of the big and the small, the momentous and the moments. I’m learning to be mindful of these blessings of the ordinary. Our daily habit of saying grace reminds me to do this too.