Hunger at a Picnic

I think we had the bad luck of picking the hottest day of the year for our church picnic recently. Kelly, my Floridian daughter, was home visiting for a week, and she came with Carman and me to share a meal with my church family after our Sunday service. I was busy doing my usual graphic artist thing by taking pictures for our church web site. I was also trying to pay attention to those who seemed kind of off by themselves. Jessica sat alone at a table most of the time I was there, and I told her that I wanted to talk to her soon, as we haven't had a lot of conversation lately. And I know her life has been so hard.

But it wasn't until a couple days later that I realized how alone my daughter felt when we were there. I can see that in this picture I quickly shot of her. She's almost giving me a polite smile, but I caught her in real mode.

I felt sad when she told me later that she tried to engage people by smiling and making eye contact, and it didn't work. I felt sad when she told me that one young woman made kind of a rude comment to something she said. Lee had just given a spiritual talk about being God-saturated, and here we were isolating ourselves from others. How I wish our mutual faith in Christ would transform us all into family that reaches out and embraces others with the passion that early Christ followers must have felt, or the passion that Christians who worshiped in countries where our faith was forbidden must have had.

I tried to think of a practical solution from event planning experience, but that wasn't any good. The only thing I could do was write this prayer:

Dear Father

We ask you to bless this food
And to bless those without enough sustenance,
Whether they need nourishment for their bodies,
or the bread of friendship for their souls.

We thank you for this chance to share a meal together.
We pray that you will open our hearts and remind us that
We are all your children and all family.
Coax us to share a smile with a stranger.
Encourage us to say a kind word.
Nudge us to strike up a conversation with someone
We’ve never talked to before.

Help us this day to share our food and our selves,
As your Son did with so many of us, at so many tables.



gerbmom said...

Hey Anne!
Your daughter is beautiful! I am so sorry people were unkind, or possibly were so wrapped up in themselves and their world that they didn't reach out and connect with her. It makes me sad, and it makes me mad, yet I have to say when I really think about it that I have been guilty of the same thing.....
I hope you had a chance to have a good talk while she was home, and I hope whatever was making her so pensive/and or sad is better now!

Mike Clawson said...

I'm sad to hear about that too. And that was a wonderful prayer that you wrote.

You know it's true that you can't go home again. I often feel just like your daughter whenever I go "home" to where my parents live. It's just not my place anymore.

Tammy said...

I remember feeling that way after i had children. i would go home to visit, but it was different. now i'm watching my kids at the same stage.

something shifted for me when i was about 22, but it shifted again this year. my dad had surgery and is still recovering. and now our relationship is different and i'm the one who gives parental like care to him.