As a society, we no longer know how to handle a life where we are forced to be still. Our normal lives consist of rushing from one event to the next, eating to-go food on the go and living a life in fast forward. Our society has simply misplaced old family traditions that included sitting down at the dinner table together because we are too busy being busy.
During this time of national crisis, a time when we are asked to stay home to keep one another safe, we have been forced to slow down. As an extrovert who is constantly on the go, this has been hard, as in H.A.R.D. It’s unreal to me that being forced to slow down and be present has caused me such anxiety because our life has reflected such a faster pace for years.
As I reflect on this season of unknown and fear, trying to wrangle my own anxiety, I notice little changes that I am thankful for. I personally don’t love to cook but we have cooked more in the last month then probably in the last year. We have saved money by not eating out. This has allowed us to support our local Brookshire Brothers and we have certainly eaten healthier. But the biggest change is happening around the dinner table.
Our dinners have varied, from super-fast and easy like spaghetti to more elaborate where we made an entire turkey, stuffing and all the fixings. Every night, we have sat down for dinner. We put away our phones. We talk. We laugh. We’ve even cried as we share our hearts with one another. This is a gift.
During this time when we are asked to be still, we have a chance to reconnect with our loved ones. It’s amazing to me how we can live with people in the same house every day and yet become so disconnected because life becomes too casual as conversations are merely a simple hi and bye. There is no depth. This cycle of living life chasing our tails has stolen the opportunities under our very own roof for rich, loving, and meaningful relationships.
Around the dinner table, we are sharing our favorite memories. We talk about future trips we want to take and what we hope life will look like once we are on the other side of this. Our conversations about food have changed too. We are seeking foods rich in nutrients to keep us healthy and planning meals later this week that we know will take more time, but time is the gift we have so it’s okay.
Last night, my two-year-old and I made homemade banana bread when normally “making from scratch” isn’t part of my vocabulary. Honestly, this recipe consisted of bananas, flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda and vanilla. All items we already had in the pantry but never use. After dinner, we all sat in the living room and watched a movie, enjoying our banana bread. Instead of a fast food inconvenience, food has become a time of sharing and making memories.
It’s amazing to me that smart phones help connect us to the world and yet have left us with less connection (and certainly are not making us smarter). We’ve gone back to a simpler time where we are present and making memories in our kitchens and around the dinner table. I hope when this season fades, we remember this lesson learned because the value in cooking with loved ones and sharing a meal is worth so much more than a life being too busy to notice what we are truly missing.
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