Look out stomach, here it comes.
I have always found saying Grace before meals to be a strange event. Sitting at a table, thanking a being I don't believe in for giving me a meal instead of thanking those who actually prepared, grew or raised it feels wrong. Generally I have simply played along in the past while thinking that I wish this was not an established tradition. I certainly don't want to offend anyone, yet I am not entirely happy just following along. There are many possible responses to this. Some small bit of me wants to follow up Grace with
I would like to thank human ingenuity and progress for providing both the infrastructure and technology to bring these ingredients to us and the cook for taking the time and energy to prepare them.
This is really just a dig at the normal version of Grace though, and honestly isn't at all appealing to me as a thing to say before a meal. While I think it is more appropriate to thank progress and the cook than God for the meal I am somehow sure we can do much better. An idea I am actually extremely happy with came not from contemplation or philosophy but rather from my 3 year old daughter Elli. One day at dinner she asked Wendy and myself to clasp our hands together on our chests and then she thrust her arms up in the air above her head and shouted
We followed suit, being a little confused and befuzzled at the new Hooray! tradition, but not finding any reason to avoid it. We have continued to shout Hooray! and launched our hands above our heads before meals for a few weeks now. Pretty much any option at Grace is bound to irritate someone, whether you thank God, technology, blind luck or anything else you will find a person at the table who thinks you should thank something else. This though is a simple shout of happiness, celebrating whatever it is you want to celebrate. I like it, and I hope to introduce it as a standard ritual before meals.
Everyone with me now-