Grace in a public place
By Elizabeth Scalia
NOVEMBER 9, 2007 (http://insidecatholic.com) - The writer of American Digest is stopped in his tracks, by grace, literally:
As I got up to leave the family of six at the long table across from me was served with the quick flourish and satisfied air of presentation that is the style of serving these days. The was food steaming in front of them, but none of them made a move towards it. Instead, they talked quietly amongst themselves and seemed to come to a decision. They made their selection from among them. It was to be one of the daughters, a girl of about 17 I guessed. The din in the restaurant rose and fell, but the family of six sat quietly and then bowed their heads as one. Then they said grace.
I stood motionless at my table. I had, I thought, never seen this before in a restaurant. I'd seen it in private homes to be sure, but upon reflection I realized that I'd not seen it there in quite sometime. And I was quite sure this was, for me, a rare event. I'd probably not been paying attention since it no doubt went on all the time, but still it was a startling moment. Perhaps I'd just been too long in Seattle where the only manifestations of spirit are flimsy; where the invocations are raised to a watery Buddhism or bloodless Unitarianism where God is impossibly distant if at all extant. Be that as it may, this simple act of saying grace did not so much shock me as still me. I paused to listen in. And the daughter did not disappoint.
It's a nice piece, one that can generate a good discussion here and at home.
For the past few years our family has been saying grace in public. One day we just automatically bowed our heads and prayed, as we do at home, and then we realized there was no reason why we should omit the practice simply because we're in a restaurant, so now we do it all time. We remain seated and we're unobtrusive, and we stick to the standard "Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts" and do not make spectacles of ourselves, but we say grace.
In fact, recently my husband and I went out with four other couples for a "grown-ups" night out and we all bowed our heads and murmured grace before toasting the night. One couple was surprised but said later that they'd actually liked it.
Another question for discussion (although probably pointless to discuss here) do you have anything on your desk or office wall that indicates you are a Christian? At my last job I had a little icon of Mary near my computer, discreet but visible. Would you feel strange to have such a thing at your job? How would it be recieved?