The Table, the Barometer of Our Lives
“Although the table is a place for intimacy, we all know how easily it can become a place of distance, hostility, and even hatred. Precisely because the table is meant to be an intimate place, it easily becomes the place we experience the absence of intimacy. The table reveals the tensions among us. When husband and wife don't talk to each other, when a child refuses to eat, when brothers and sisters bicker, when there are tense silences, then the table becomes hell, the place we least want to be.” Henri Nouwen, Henri Nouwen Society, Daily Meditation, Email.
Henri Nouwen always offer insight into our everyday world. I marvel at how a man who never was married who had no children can know so much about real life in the trenches. When I talk to spiritual friends, a good ice breaker or introduction to find out about their life is asking about mealtime. It is the place where we daily have an opportunity for intimacy and consequently seeing the Christ in each other. It can be one of many barometers that we can use to contemplate how we are connecting to each other and therefore to God. The habit of starting with a short prayer of thanksgiving can always set the stage no matter where the meal begins. “Thank you for our family, food, and friends. Amen.” This is our family mealtime prayer. We connect to the rest of our family when we say it, knowing that many may be saying it no matter where they may be. The conversation with my friend can then move to another table where we connect beyond our family into the world where prayers begin the meal. This also is a table of unbelievable intimacy. This is the table of the Eucharist. This table also affords us one more opportunity to connect to the Christ in ourselves and each other and be changed. This table also is one more barometer and one more opportunity to renew our connection to God and each other