As you can imagine, meal times are pretty important around the DeLoach Ranch. I am certain has been true for many generations. My grandfather’s favorite table blessing went something like this: “Bless the Meat, even the bones/Got anymore, bring it on.” While we giggled my grandmother glared disapprovingly in his direction. We DeLoaches love eating and we love eating as a family. Mealtimes were not a picture from the canvas of Norman Rockwell. My grandmother’s house did not have a dining room, or china, or linen napkins. We (seven of us) all ate in the kitchen crammed around a table fighting over the last biscuit and working our way in and out of the unfolding flow of conversation.
We discussed politics, religion, grades, feed prices and milk prices, but mostly we laughed, fussed, and teased. In other words, we were a family and the table centered us. One by one we grew up, some of us moved away and all of us married. Both my grandparents are now deceased and my father has since remarried. Still, from time to time, we come back home bringing our own children and our own stories and find a place at the table. In fact, we need several tables when we all show up.
As a husband and father meal times are just as important for me as they were in my childhood. True, we are busy with church, sports and school, but we strive hard to prioritize eating together for breakfast and supper. Soon both of my sons will be driving and it will not be long before they too will move away and into their life waiting to be discovered. I hope they will look back and remember not only the biscuits and gravy but the conversations and love centered by our battered table in the kitchen (we do not have a dining room either).
The most important thing about a meal time is not the menu, or the place setting, or even the place. It is to simply show up. Making the time to be present and knowing that when we cannot make it we are missed is essential to a healthy family.
It is no wonder we call church family. As a family we come in all shapes and sizes: single, married with or without children, foster children and grandchildren. Young and old, we are all part of a family of faith. Every Sunday we are invited to just show up; to be counted and loved; to be missed and cared for; to nourish and be nourished.
I hope to see you this Sunday, to be counted with you that we may laugh, weep, or just simply be together as a family. It is where we love God together and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Peace be with you,