Among the definitions of truth in Webster's dictionary are fidelity, constancy, sincerity in action, character, and utterance, and the body of real things. Truth is an important, yet seemingly rare, quality. Even those who believe that truth is relative want to know that they can trust certain people to be honest with them. Unfortunately, there seems to be an increasingly smaller number of folks who can be trusted to have fidelity, constancy, sincerity, and who are real.
One of the things that has become evident to me is the difficulty in being untrue when gathered around a table with family or friends. I guess it is possible to not be real while attending a large banquet or similar gathering, but small gatherings tend to be more intimate and revealing. When around the table, it is hard to fade into the woodwork and disappear. Conversation flows around the table, and the more time we spend with others, sharing food and talking, the more we get to know the real person. The masks come off around the table.
Inviting and accepting invitations to the table has long been a sign of acceptance and caring about the other. It is one way we can show love to others. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, we become real when we are loved and accepted. As we grow into that acceptance and love, we allow others to see who we really are, and we learn to accept them as they are. It is around the family table that children first learn social skills, and it is around the table that adults continue the lesson.
In Year of Plenty, Craig L. Goodwin writes about his family's trip to Thailand:
Our experiences with food in Bangkok reminds me of how a pastor friend from Brazil, Claudio Oliver, helped me understand two unique words used to talk about food in Latin America. He explained to me that "alimento is what nutritionists recommend for you; comida is what your mum makes for you. Comida is what you would call soul food: family together, people talking, warm fresh veggies, sweet potatoes, corn bread, laughing, crying, prayer, thanksgiving, culture, old history, little ones learning who we are through food."
Let us learn fidelity, constancy, sincerity in action, character, and utterance, and being real around the table as we share food, drink, and conversation.