I once met Shauna Niequist. And by meet I mean that once when I was in college, she came to my home church to speak and I spent the weekend sitting next to her at meals. And because of such, now feel the right to call her by her first name. Cool? This particular weekend I was a little less than a stellar table mate, I was feeling the full force of parasite sickness terror and even snuck out crying at one point because I was in such terrible pain, I couldn’t sit there for a moment longer. At the end, Shauna asked my mom if I was ok, seriously people, she was the main speaker. And just because I can, I thought you’d like to see a picture of us, was I right?
Anywhooo, Shauna just wrote a new book called Bread & Wine that came out today. Seriously do yourselves a favor and buy this book. Today. I will wait while you do it.
It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. While the title may lead you to believe that this is a book about food, you will not be disappointed. It had my mouth watering at the turn of every page. I had to put the book down shortly after I started it to go make her mom’s blueberry crisp recipe. Mouth watering. In fact, I think I will whip up another batch of it when I am done with this.
Every chapter takes you to an event and emotion told through the food experienced. But more than the event, the community that broke the bread together. She talks of the community woven around the table and the food shared. I cried deep sobs through the first half of the book. She is so real and honest and, as was true with her first two books as well, brought words to emotions that had previously just been circling in my head and weighing on my heart.
To be honest, the community Shauna talks about made my heart ache. I desire community like that so much. I want people who are “in it” with us, no matter what “it” is. I am giving myself and us grace as we are newly in this post-college, married, homeowner, real job, lawn-mowing, chicken-raising life. And I realize that real community takes time. It takes being in the hard and the celebrating, in the mundane and in the exciting. It also takes sacrifice and risk and can sometime be messy. And for this introvert, it is even harder to step out of my comfort zone and risk vulnerability with others. But I want to.
I think there really is something to what Shauna is talking about. About community being formed around the table and through breaking bread together. Aren’t there studies that say kids are more likely to succeed if they eat dinner together with their families? It doesn’t matter what, just that they are together, eating. While reading Bread & Wine, I decided that I wanted to ask our Growth Group to eat with us every week. That as part of nourishing our souls together, we would also nourish our bodies. I pray that maybe by eating together our community would deepen.
I hope that you will read Bread & Wine and I pray that you will be as encouraged as I was. That you will grab some friends and get some food and savor the moment. I know that I want to.
Now if you will so kindly excuse me, the blueberries are calling my name.