EAT. PRAY. LOVE
My mom’s lemon meringue pie, cornbread dressing and old fashion dinner rolls (the ones that take forever because they need hours to sit and rise), these remind me of home. Sometimes the meals were simple—beans and cornbread or some type of soup/stew. It’s not the menu I remember. It’s the togetherness that mealtime represented. In my house, Mickey D’s was rare. My parents were old school. There was no eating in front of the television. Absolutely not! The table had to be set followed by the grace to bless the food. At that time, it was a hassle to have to set the table for our large family. And as if our family wasn’t big enough (I have two sisters and five brothers), It wasn’t uncommon to see a neighborhood friend or extended family member seated at the table with us. Yes. The food was delectable and I have yet to find someone who can duplicate mama’s dressing. But more than that, eating together created a bond that is priceless. It was a place of sheerness. When we sat down to eat, we weren’t in make-up and costume. Now I’m not saying that there was no drama or that we didn’t have some characters who always felt the need to steal the spotlight. What I’m saying is, it was real. We all said or did things that made us less than perfect. But night after night we showed up, sat down and ate together, with the comfort of knowing that everyone at the table knew about the flaws and was still accepting of each other.
At that time it was beyond my comprehension to see past the baked macaroni and cheese and instead, recognize the strategy my parents used to created the since of togetherness they knew we would need, long after we out grew the daily meetings at the kitchen table
I was the youngest of eight. I consider myself special because I was definitely not planned since there is such a large gap between my siblings and me. As a result I got a lot of one on one time with my mom. One of my earliest memories is her daily routine of prayer. After getting the other kids off to school, she would steal away to the bathroom and before long I would hear her inside whispering and crying. At the time I was about three – not old enough for school but always trying to be grown. I would ease the door open and find her kneeling at the side of the bathtub with her eyes closed and head bowed. Instead of her stopping when she heard me, she continued on in a soft yet firm voice chanting her prayers. It was like she was in a zone. I say that because as a three year old, I would of course find it hard to sit still. Sometimes I would kneel next to her and pretend to mimic her gestures of crying. Then there were times when I would be her “nurse” by rubbing her back and patting her hair, feeling comfortable that there was no need for me to be alarmed by her tears because she was doing what I saw her do a million times before—pray. In spite of me invading her space, she found a way to proceed to the throne of grace—daily. I often say to myself, I don’t know how she did it. But after taking time to reflect on that memory I know understand how it was done.
What is love? It is said to be a strong affection linked by kinship, personal ties, attraction, or admiration. As I began to think about the people I love, I find this to be true. I love my family based on our kinship and personal ties that began at those dinners, and continue throughout this journey called life. I love my mom for teaching me the importance and power of prayer. I love my son like no other. I find it ironic that although I birthed him, he birthed in me a new level of love that is unselfish and resilient as I’ve learned that it renews daily. And last but not least, I love my husband. My attraction for him goes far beyond any one physical feature he has (although that million dollar smile doesn’t hurt). He is kind hearted, helpful, supportive, a great father, son and brother. But most of all I admire his ability to love. I am much more guarded with my love than he is. He loves openly and freely. I love that he has taught me there is more than my way to love. And I love that I am the beneficiary of his.
Sound off. What do you EAT, PRAY, LOVE?
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