Mealtime Ritual

When I was a child our family would sit down for lunch together every Sunday after church. My father would always say the grace. “God bless this food to our use and us to thy service and make us ever mindful of the needs of others.”

As a child the words got all slurred in my mind into one word, “useinus”. But it wasn’t the words that had meaning for me so much as the gathering of our family at one table and the practice of stopping for a few moments to share a blessing.

Pausing together in the quiet was such a contrast to the rest of our complicated family life.

It was a moment I could count on when all was well.

Although I no longer say a prayer at mealtime, I’ve carried the “pausing together” part of my childhood tradition forward. When my family and I sit down for a meal we have a practice of holding hands, closing our eyes and sitting in silence for a few moments before eating.

I find the quiet so nourishing after the business of preparing the meal. I like to linger in the peace and I appreciate that my family waits patiently for my eyes to open.

After the quiet, someone usually adds something they are grateful for: the farmers who planted the spinach, the person who prepared the food etc. Then we laugh with one another, ask questions and exchange stories. It’s a sweet time of sharing.

Having a mealtime practice creates a transition from the “doing” of life into the “being”. It sets the tone for a time for your family to cherish one another.

And as you relax together, you’re more able to take in the nourishment of the food.

Creating a simple mealtime ritual will bring a nourishing pause to your life and will foster the feeling of connection with you and your family.

Do you have a mealtime practice? Please share it here in the comments!

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