I'm meeting somebody I've never actually met in person today. For an introvert, this kind of lunch date is a big deal. It's a lot of energy. I'm not one who dives out there hunting for friends, so I'm pretty much over the moon about this opportunity to make a new one.

It's crazy. I know her dad from summer camp, and she and I even have mutual friends from college, but we never actually crossed paths during that time. We sort of found each other on Facebook . . . mostly because of our love of green things and pictures of outdoor critters and beautiful words. 

And so we're meeting for tacos at high noon! . . . (that's her word choice, which makes me like her even more already.)

I've written many times before about the importance of table sharing. It's an extremely important gesture in several different cultures, including the culture that Jesus came from. He shared meals with such a diverse array of people - it drove his "church" leaders crazy. Sometimes it baffled his best friends. But he did it. And gave thanks for it.

What if we actually did what he asked us to do? And every time we shared bread with another human being we celebrated the Eucharist? 

In a world that embraces comparison above almost all things (even churches compare themselves to other churches), we have got to find some way to be who we are without worrying.

The lunch or dinner table is a great place to start.

How do we accomplish this? What makes the table a place where we lay down our masks and our justifications . . . where we are who we are?

"He took bread, broke it, and gave thanks for it."

We will give thanks.

That's how.

So here are a few things I'm thankful for, sitting at the breakfast table, hearing the traffic outside:

1) I'm thankful for the two students I'll work with this afternoon.

2) I'm thankful for the life of the new friend I'll meet today.

3) I'm thankful for my husband, working in the next room.

4) I'm thankful for the teachers I'll spend time with tomorrow.

5) I'm thankful for the singers I'll hear tonight at rehearsal.

6) I'm thankful that I can stand on two legs to do my work today.

7) I'm thankful that my arms can carry things and conduct music.

8) I'm thankful that my eyes can see the green of the summery world outside.

9) I'm thankful for coffee.

10) I'm thankful for candles.

11) I'm thankful for a phone call from my grandmother yesterday.

12) I'm thankful for my little sister's beautiful life and her wedding, so soon.

13) I'm thankful for the open door . . . for God with us.

14) I'm thankful for processes.

15) I'm thankful for breathing.

16) I'm thankful for being able to type and write . . . and the ability to turn it all into songs.

17) I'm thankful for the fact that God created YOU. God is especially fond of you.

And just like that . . . the fear of other people, the self judgement, and the comparison fall away. Because real thanksgiving doesn't leave room for those things. 

I've learned how to know when I have left the path of thanksgiving. I see it when I'm driving in my car. 

If I am no longer noticing the plants beside the road . . . the flowers and ferns and green things I pass . . . then I know - I've forgotten to be overjoyed by thanksgiving. It's then that the worry and comparison sneak back in. They're so sneaky and quiet. You'd hardly know it at first . . . 

There are too many good gifts in life to be allowing them to pass by unnoticed. That's not the way we want to spend our time.

What are you thankful for? 

The next time you sit down at a table with other people, begin listing the things you love in your head . . . and watch for it - the healing peace that follows.

Peace & Goodness,