On saying Grace

Homemade gluten free bread

“Isn’t it strange that saying Grace – or thanks, or whatever phrase you wish to use – has become something associated with religion rather than genuine gratitude?”

It’s 11am and I have just eaten breakfast. For the past two weeks I have been working from home, spending the day writing in bed in my pajamas – yes, fulfilling the freelance stereotype down to a tee.

When I get in the zone, hunger often waits. Just one more article, just one more word! So when I finally peel myself away from the screen to eat, I try to stay away from my computer until I’ve finished every bite. Otherwise ‘eating’ will turn into typing a million miles an hour while occasionally shovelling food into my gob. Not attractive, or enjoyable.

So this morning, as I ate my porridge topped with yoghurt and berries, I tried to really concentrate on the taste and texture of the food in front of me.

And I found myself saying Grace.

Not in your traditional way – I wasn’t speaking out loud, and I didn’t have anyone’s hand to hold – but just to myself.  In my head I expressed gratitude for the bowl of deliciousness before me and I felt this moment of intense peace and happiness.

Who was I speaking to? I’m not really sure I would call him (or her!) God. Maybe life, or the universe, or the many souls that contributed to preparing the oats, yoghurt and berries in front of me.

Thank you farmers, delivery drivers, supermarket cashiers, factory workers for allowing me to exchange a small amount of money for priceless nourishment. Thank you weather, life, nature for providing the conditions for food to grow so I don’t go hungry. Thank you cows for giving me milk. Thank you universe for giving me the luck to be born into a safe and harmonious environment, where food is never scarce.

Thank you.

Saying Grace came so naturally to me I was surprised. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, I rarely went to church. I remember staying with relatives and feeling like an outsider when they said Grace because I didn’t know the right words or what to do.

But really, saying thank you for your food, for the life on your plate, should be the most natural thing in the world. Isn’t it strange that saying Grace – or thanks, or whatever phrase you wish to use – has become something associated with religion rather than genuine gratitude?

It has dawned on me lately how much in this life we take for granted. How food has become a source of anxiety for people rather than a gift. Without food and fresh water, we cannot survive.

So I think the least we can do is say thanks.

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