Friday, November 16, 2007

The Sharing Feast

The days are crisp, the nights chilly, I'm reading again (I started Water for Elephants last night and am completely absorbed) and we're going to spend Thanksgiving weekend in NYC. Just when I thought the days couldn't get any cozier, today Sabrina's preschool invited us for a sharing feast, and now I have enough warmth and fuzziness to last me through 2008.

How just a little over one hour of time can translate into such lasting energy, inspiration and joy is almost a miracle. Here are the highlights of the event:

--The younger children, including Sabrina, performed Stone Soup, a fable about villagers who make a delicious soup by combining their ingredients and efforts. Sabrina contributed celery to the pot. Her first performance, and she did great! I have been looking for books to read with Sabrina about sharing and giving beyond the obvious ones about Thanksgiving. This story is perfect!
--The older children sang several songs and a beautiful blessing. I cannot remember it exactly but it included words like "Thank you for my family. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for this food. Thank you for it all being right here where I am." This touched me because not all our friends and family are right where we are; in fact, much of our family is scattered all over the place, including heaven. But I think the point of the blessing is that truly, they are where we are. They are in our minds and hearts, and that is a blessing.
--The feast was simple and delicious: soup, cornbread, pumpkin cupcakes and applesauce. Each of the four parts of the meal was prepared by a different class of children and their families. While enjoying this meal with my small family and the new friends we've made through Sabrina's school, I realized (not for the first time) how community and sharing has so little to do with fanciness or formality or impressing anyone. It made me resolve to work less on the production side of gatherings and more on the building community side.
--The children had decorated the stage and room with all sorts of art projects. Sabrina's class made a wreath out of the outlines of their hands, and on each hand were written things the children are grateful for or love. Sabrina's said: "I love it when my parents watch movies with me." We JUST started doing this more regularly--about once a week we pick something to watch together. I thought she enjoyed it just because it was something new and because she almost never gets to watch TV. But her message let me know that there's more to it than that--it's about togetherness and family for her.

And now, I'm off to hug my children one more time and curl up in bed with my book!

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