There are some that practice the act of grace before every meal.  I will admit, that I am not totally committed to this practice, although my parents raised me with it, and I am thankful.  As the days and weeks start to meld in this time of uncertainty, I wonder if maybe I should be more committed.  Spending a moment in meditative gratitude for what I have.  For the food before me, for the roof over my head, for the relative safety of my home.

For some of us, this is our first experience of hardship in any real sense.  Of course we’ve had struggles, we’ve had times where we were poorer, times bills were hard to pay, times when groceries were bought on a budget.  Many live their lives like that always, working hard to make ends meet, wondering where the money for the next meal will come from.  But the monumental nature of this is different.  Most of us have never had to patiently wait in line for groceries.  Most of us have never seen empty shelves in a grocery store.  Most of us have not been filled with glee simply because  they had some basic item, like flour, available for purchase.

It feels like we’re living in a movie.  It feels like we’re learning about things that many on this planet face every day.  It feels like things will never be normal again.  It feels like we are being asked to learn lessons about generosity, gratitude and compassion.  For our neighbours.  For those that live like this every day, sometimes with much less, for their whole lives.  Lessons about how much we usually have, and how little we actually need.

This time is stressful.  There is no question about that.  But I can’t help thinking it is also a moment to embrace beautiful awareness.  To be thankful for our usual state of being.  To be generous, when we are able, to those who don’t share our material abundance, our peaceful existence, our safety.

I am filled with gratitude for everything I have.  I am uncertain and nervous about what the future holds.  But I am seeing the food on my plate with different eyes.  It nourishes.  It comforts.  It is shared.  It is simple.  It is providing health and strength.  Take a moment for grace.  A moment for thanksgiving – to God or nature or farmers or grocery store clerks or truck drivers.  Whomever you look to with gratitude will become part of our newfound beautiful awareness.  If we do this at every meal, it will be difficult to forget when this is over.  And we will remain changed.  And the world will notice.

For health and strength,
And daily food,
We give you thanks,
Oh Lord.