Last night I was cleaning a chicken for dinner. The heart was stuck way up inside the bird's cavity so I had to reach in deep and pull it out. I stared at the little heart in my hand thinking, "God, this is gross." But it made me think. This heart used to beat inside a little bird's chest. This chicken had a life. She ate corn, ran around, pecked at other birds... Several months of chicken-y moments culminated last night when my family and I gobbled her up in about 25 minutes.
My family has never said Grace before dinner (except on big holidays) but last night I had an overwhelming urge to offer some praise. There are so many people and animals to thank for the food on our dinner table. Of course the chicken, the cow for milk and butter, the soil for green beans and potatoes, the farmer for, well, everything. The truck driver for delivering the food, IKEA for my cute place mats, my husband for sponsoring the meal, and God for allowing it all to come together in this amazing Universe. So we all sat down to eat and I suggested we take a moment to give thanks to our formerly-feathered friend... then two of my kids started laughing hysterically and screaming like banshees. I guess they thought thanking a dead chicken was funny. And the "Leave it to Beaver" moment slipped away.
The point is threefold. One part being, it takes an incredible amount of effort (and carbon emission) to bring a meal to the table and Grace gives us an opportunity to BE aware of it. Two, Grace doesn't have to be hokey and isn't reserved only for Bible Belt Baptists. If you didn't grow up doing it, like me, saying Grace before a meal may feel awkward or manufactured; but there is conscious value in its tradition. The final part, sometimes the gratitude is there but circumstances do not allow us to give thanks the way we envision. Kids melt down, partners are late, rice burns, red wine spills across your treasured white Italian tablecloth... It's okay. We can try again tomorrow.
Do you say grace at home? How do you do it? Who do you thank? God? Allah? The butcher at Whole Foods? Please share your own experiences or ideas - anonymously or otherwise. Inspire the few hundred people who read this blog!
|If Family Guy can do it, I can do it! :-)|