I once had a marvelous year of weekly community dinners. Our small group was participating in the Early Childhood Program at Rudolf Steiner College. It was a dreamy time for me, my infant just old enough for me to go for a few hours, the love of my life at home, & a weekly breath of fresh air & fresh perspective. I would drive the 40 minutes in silence, then wander into the lush & prolific rows in the biodynamic gardens, mumbling at the sheep & sitting for a spell at the pond. The campus itself looked as though built by Hobbits, with oddly-shaped buildings & handhewn bits all about. I always looked forward to a lesson over busy hands ~maybe we were shown how to needle-felt a nest, form a woolen bird mobile, dye a swath of silk or build a Waldorf-style doll.
We took turns bringing a soup, or a salad. My friend Christine brought fabulous bread from her family's Village Bakery. It was wonderful to begin each evening's conversation with a social moment, a genuine pause of gratitude, smiles, hugs & a meal before sitting down & doing some of the work of intentional family-building. It was here that we created the safe space without trying. It was here that some small creature in me would smack her lips & say, "Oh boy!" at the treat of being gifted a home-cooked meal.
We kept this bit casual & friendly, as far as we thinkers & seekers could. The conversation always came to be about the questions we were living with, in our homes & our work. One question keeps coming to me a lot this season. I'm realizing it's been guiding me, actually. A simple question: Think of your childhood. When did you experience warmth?
Wow. My Uncle Pat's beef stew over rice. A tangle of legs in bed with my mom & siblings. The iron in the kitchen. My dad's hand as we walked miles all over San Francisco on Sundays. The couch & comforters during Saturday Morning Cartoons with my cousins. The bath. Helping Mom wash dishes.
Do you see where I'm going with this? Is there really anything more important than giving our family moments of warmth? I'm convinced it's love made physical.