From the very first day Ben and I were married, we have made it a point to sit down at the table and eat dinner together. When the babies were born, they would eat while I ate, even if that meant Ben had to cut up my food for me. When they were toddlers, we pulled their high chairs up to the table and fed them there, even if it was baby food out of a jar. We always ate together.
Now that the children are no longer children and have lives of their own, we still try to eat together as often as possible. We never gave in to eating in front of the TV.
When we sit down to eat, we pray first. We almost always hold hands all the way around the table, unless someone is sick or has one arm in a cast, as Ben has had here lately. Sometimes it weirds people out, especially if one of them is a guy who then has to hold hands with another guy he doesn't know very well.
And we pray. One of our favorite sayings comes from Papaw, who once said, "If you're behind in your prayer life, don't catch up at the dinner table," meaning keep it short, buddy—the food is getting cold. But we touch on the highlights, and always—ALWAYS—pray for the safety of each family member who is not at the table with us. It's become a matter of habit, and you may think that's not a good thing, to pray out of habit. But I disagree.
Some days it's impossible to eat dinner together, and that happens on most Wednesdays. Abbey works late. I leave early for singing practice at church. Ben gets stuck in traffic and usually meets us at church. Man-squared works. But we learned this morning that God hears us and answers, even when the
same things day after day roll off our tongues in our table prayers, and even when we miss a day praying them.
Man-squared told me the story this morning.
He and two friends were sitting at a burger place last night after work, eating burgers. Man-squared told a joke and started to laugh. Somewhere in the laughter, a piece of food got caught in his throat. He couldn't swallow and he couldn't cough it out. It was just STUCK. He got very still while he tried to get it to move either way, and then began to panic. He slammed his fist down on the table, breaking the corner of it. One of the buddies immediately realized what was happening and jumped up, got behind MS, and performed the Heimlich maneuver with enough force to pull my 175-pound son up out of the chair, dislodging whatever was in MS's throat. MS fell back in his chair, Buddy collapsed in his, and the three of them sat in silence for a moment, shaken.
Had we prayed for Man-squared's safety that night at the dinner table? No. We didn't even have dinner together. But God knows our hearts, and He knows that safety is always on our minds. We always think of car accidents because Man-squared comes home late at night. But God answered in the form of a friend who is completely certified in first aid and CPR.
God hears every word we say. And He remembers.
Be thankful ~