Wrapping up last week’s conversation on food and spirituality here is a story of a little ritual my wife and I have.
Every Saturday when Humphrey works in our garden, we have lunch together. That’s just something we do. I remember, growing up, our maid and garden worker had their own “special” cutlery and their own “special” place where they ate their meals. This always bothered me. My wife, El, had a similar experience a child.
So now we try to do it differently. Humphrey and Martha eat and drink out of the same cutlery as we do.
Two Saturdays ago we sat down for our weekly lunch. Boerewors, pap and beer, your average South African cuisine is just the right medicine to build cultural bridges, while recharging for the next hour or two of weed pulling and grass cutting.
We talked about the garden, our home towns, beer, shebeens and local soccer. Afterwards Humphrey went back to his work in the garden, El disappeared into her art room and I got behind my computer to do some Saturday writing.
When the day was done I got ready to take Humphrey back to his house in the squatter camp. We were ready to go, both of us in the Landy, when Humphrey suddenly got out and ran into the house. Few minutes later he came back smiling and we left.
Afterwards El told me what happened. Humphrey went back in the house and told her the following:
“I wish you more days.”
At first she did not understand what he was trying to say, so she asked him to explain.
“I wish God will give you more days because you have been so kind to me.”
Humphrey was giving us a blessing, a prayer of some sort. It was his way of saying thanks.
I think it is safe to say that last Saturday was a Kingdom Come moment. Every time I experience a moment like that, it makes me (doubtfully) believe that, like Jesus, we can change the world.
It’s as simple and difficult as having lunch with the person working in your garden.