Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And on that day, if no other, there’s a tradition of saying a prayer of gratitude for the food that we eat. And of course we give thanks for the friends and family that gather with us and for all the other blessings in our lives.
But I got to thinking today, what is it we are really grateful for when we give thanks for our food?
The good taste and the full belly for sure. But a meal is so much more than that – it’s a symphonic masterpiece comprised of more notes, movements, instruments and players than we often consider.
There’s the person who prepared the meal, using a recipe that was handed down from her grandmother, who got it from her grandmother – the one who brought it over from the old country.
There’s the work that we do, which gave us the income that allowed us to pay for the groceries that went into the meal. And behind that the customer or the boss who values our work enough to pay us for it.
There are all the workers in the grocery store where we bought the food – the butchers, the bakers, the stockers, the baggers, the check-out clerks. And the folks who drove the delivery trucks that brought the food to the grocery store. And the farms where the food grew and the farmers who worked them. And the sun that shone and the rain that fell on the fertile earth so those crops could grow.
What about the carpenters who crafted the table and chairs at which we sit? The factory workers who moved stoves and ovens and refrigerators through that assembly line so we could conveniently store and cook our food. And the linemen who keep the power on so we can use them. And the builders who built the home for us to put them in. The architect who designed the home with a beautiful kitchen to cook in. The dreamers and investors who envisioned a town where once there was only desert.
There are all the moments of our lives up ‘til now – the challenges and successes, the joy and the pain, the choices made along the way. They’ve all come together right now in this moment to bring us to this table with these people enjoying this food before us. It has all come together to feed us, mind, body and soul.
It’s an incredible collaboration. A Divine Conspiracy that we can trace back to the stars we were born under, and beyond that back billions of years to the Big Bang that birthed those stars. And behind all of that, to the Creative Force that birthed everything.
So let us bow our heads in gratitude. Let’s take a deep breath. And with the in breath, let’s open ourselves to receive the immense blessing this Divine Collaboration represents. And on the out breath, let’s send gratitude to everyone and everything involved.
When I think of it this way, I am filled not just with gratitude, but with awe. And I know that one breath is not enough – for this huge, timeless collaboration, this Divine Symphony, plays out not just through the food we eat today, but through every single blessing in our lives.
The notes, the movements, the instruments, the players. Can you hear the celestial sound?
If we gave thanks with every breath remaining to us, it still might not be enough. But it would be a good place to start.