I love to eat. My life revolves around “feeding time”. I love all types of food. I get as excited about a corn dog from Quik Trip as I do about a lobster tail. I’m not kidding.
I also love people. I have actually been told that I have too many friends for my own good (I say that’s impossible). I don’t just love people, I love the connection with an individual person. I love the relationship that is cultivated.
A friend told me recently that we are the most connected/disconnected society in the history of the world. Isn’t that scary? Luckily, my love for food and my love for people are married in a way that provides the joy of connection in my life. Every. Single. Day.
When it becomes difficult to get together with friends because we are all so busy (BUSY is a 4-letter-word, the new “B” word). I always say “well, ya gotta eat”. In my case, I eat about 6 times a day which provides lots of opportunities to connect.
I have found that if cultivating relationships is important to you, you have to be intentional about connecting. It is important to plan your schedule according to your priorities. If family and friends are a priority, your calendar should reflect that. I have a very particular way that I use my calendar to run my crazy, hectic and over-committed life. The way I use it to cultivate meaningful relationships is through MAKING TIME to connect and scheduling it.
I have various groups of friends I get together with monthly. Some of my groups have been at it for over 15 years. We typically gather over food- surprise! We gotta eat, right? When I’m not at work, at a volunteer commitment or needing to have a solo lunch to strategize, I am meeting someone for lunch. I actually have a list on my calendar of the friends I plan to do lunch with each month. Trust me- there is power in writing it down. Once it became difficult to schedule more lunches, I started having a “bagel date” with a friend. When my “breakfast schedule” filled up, I started scheduling “coffee dates” (if you recall, I don’t drink coffee). All the while, I protect my precious time with my husband and son. Including non-negotiable meals around the table. Thanks to my parents, even after our son was born, Erick and I are able to plan “almost-weekly” date nights. They always start with dinner. Of course.
I love the idea that when I am meeting with friends and loved ones over food- we are quite literally breaking bread together. On Maundy Thursday, I read to my Life Group (we meet twice a month) from Matthew 26:26-29. This powerful text is about the last supper. My voice cracked and my eyes leaked a little, but it speaks to this sacred time between Christ and his disciples.
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body,”27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Wow! When you think about the act of meeting over a meal in terms of “breaking bread”, that is powerful stuff indeed! This time together is truly sacred to me. During a time when it seems there is so much brokenness, there has never been a better time to break bread. There has never been a better time to gather around a table to share a meal. There has never been a better time to connect.
In the book of Acts we hear of the people gathering to break bread and to pray. People were in community and sold their possessions to give to those in need. “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of ALL the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved”.
Despite today’s brokenness and disconnection, I have tremendous hope. I predict a renaissance of community. I believe that we are on the verge of re-connecting in an epic way–on a deeper and more meaningful level than ever before. Additionally, I believe that as a society, we will become more purposeful in building relationships than ever before. Probably because we have to TRY HARDER. Our relationships will deepen because we will get past the superficial and get to those deeper layers where pain and vulnerability and self doubt live. Not just broken, but broken and SHARED. Not just broken, but broken and POURED OUT. It’s when the outer layers fall away that unbreakable bonds are formed.
Tonight I will break bread (actually pizza) with my bunco group. We started out 19 years ago as a co-ed softball team. We moved onto bunco, and now we simply meet for dinner. I’ve learned that our bond isn’t about home runs or who gets the most buncos. It’s about 19 years worth of celebrations and heartbreaks. Weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, graduations, promotions, break ups, relocations, divorces, lay offs and funerals.
In spite of our long to-do lists, my bunco girls will meet for dinner tonight. After all, “we gotta eat”.
Who will you break bread with today?
Bonus video: This is for anyone who is struggling today. The video doesn’t necessarily fit my post, but it is on my heart to share…