Eloquence and Prayer at Table.

Praying at table doesn’t have to be part of our Olympic or heroic pattern. We can grunt a prayer, as anyone who has ever been in a foxhole knows. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with eloquence either. I used to try for it on Facebook and a few of my best correspondents, like Mary Luti and Maren Tirabassi still do. If prayer at table is good, and a grunt towards God is acceptable, then imagine how much more beautiful eloquence could be, for you and for those who get to hear the prayersFrom grunt to grace is not far, as the crow flies. A lot depends on getting your stale story about yourself out of the way. If a grunt removes heroic self-consciousness, great. Grace has come to your table. If writing an eloquent prayer becomes a tongue twister and you find yourself competing with yourself or others in the wordsmithing Olympics, grace at table has already passed you by. Why bother? A beautiful prayer popped up at a table in New Hampshire on Friday night. We were with our friends Michael Ferber and Susan Arnold. Susie had fixed a goat meat tagine; Michael had made a cold blueberry soup. We were watching the Olympics out of our side ears and eyes. The bugs weren’t biting. The golden retriever, “Lola”, whom we have both called our own over the years, was quietly attending the cocktail hour with a tennis ball. There was enough eloquence of food and air, friendship and ambiance. to allow prayer to emerge, rather than be grunted. I prayed a quickie, straight from my heart. “Thank you, God.” Then Warren lit the Shabbat candles. Then Michael remembered this prayer: "Fix thou our steps, O Lord, that we stagger not in the uneven motions that sway the world but go steadily on our way, neither censuring the journey for the weather we meet nor turning aside from aught that befalls us." We know it comes from the Unitarians but we are not sure which ones. Sourcing of eloquence is always appreciated. The goat came from down the road in Stratford, New Hampshire. The blueberries came from when Susie and Lola had “gone pickin.”