Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lunch with Sally

I'm almost certain that somewhere in our conversation (see last two posts), Steve and I ended up talking about people who pray before their meal when they're eating out in public the same way they presumably do at home in private.

He asked me if my family prayed in public when I was a kid, and I explained that my father would say a prayer after we sat down to eat at home, but only at home. We didn't pray in public places outside of church and home. That was considered unnecessary, showy, pretentious, and off-putting.

What I didn't remember until some time later is that a couple of weeks before my lunch with Steve and the prayer men, I had lunch with another friend of mine -- who led the two of us in a prayer at our table in the restaurant across the street from my office.

I'll call her Sally. She's in her 70s and is another retired Presbyterian minister friend of mine. We go to the same church. She's written a novel and has hired me to edit it and design it into a book for her. I should add here that Sally and I have developed a good and deep friendship over the years. We are spiritual mentors for one another. She's hurting these days because she just lost her husband, who was yet another Presbyterian minister. I'll call him Carlos. He was born in Cuba but had to flee the island in 1954.

Sally and I went to lunch after one of our meetings about her book, and after the food came and the server had headed back to the kitchen, she asked if I wanted her to pray. I said yes. She then said a short, delicate prayer of gratitude, and that was it.

I don't know how it looked to others on the outside, but to me on the inside of this little duo, it was lovely. I know that's a corny word, but that's what it was. It was a lovely little moment, and I'm glad I was included in it.

Why is that different to me than what I would think if I saw two people sitting at a table in a public restaurant praying aloud with their heads bowed and their eyes closed? Why can I not allow them to have the same experience I had with Sally?

Fair question.


Galen Pearl said...

Seeing people pray in public is preferable to many things I see people doing in public! Doesn't sound like the prayers you are describing are the banging on the drum look at me type of prayers that Jesus cautioned about. A private prayer in public can be a lovely (not a corny word!) thing and perhaps inspire others to pause and reflect.

HK Stewart said...


I know you're right about praying public being better than some of the things we humans do in public.

I trust you're right about the rest.

H. K.

S0phia Inkpen said...

For the longest time, I also thought God was too busy to bother with individuals, that he put things together and then simply watched how things were unfolding. But then an event triggered a re-assessment of that idea, and I decided to start by saying thank you prayers. Thank you for what I had.
And to cultivate awareness, I tried to find one beautiful thing each day that I could admire... a sunset, a flower, anything... I needed to do that to escape the darkness.
Then a book on business (I was starting my own business then) talked about making a list of what you wanted in life, in each sphere, personal life, work, health.
The short story is that I discovered through this that someone is out there listening, and helping you, one way or another, and that wishes are prayers, and gratitude is also a prayer.

HK Stewart said...


That's a beautiful story. Thanks for writing it here.

I especially appreciate the last sentence.

H. K.