The Triangle

The clang was loud in the house, but I loved it. It was the sound of an old-fashioned cast iron dinner triangle. We heard it each night when supper was ready. No, I wasn’t outside on a windswept prairie. I was a little girl at home in the suburbs, and that triangle–and delectable smells from the kitchen–drew us together.

Supper. Some call it dinner, but to me it will always be supper. Growing up, supper meant more than my mom’s tasty, homemade meals. It meant family time. We ate, of course, but we also prayed together, relived the day, laughed, debated (argued sometimes!), or simply had moments enrobed in silence. My sister and I were taught table manners. God bless my parents’ patience!

Though not realizing it at the time, we were learning slowly how to “play well with others.” The memories are good. There’s something special about families dining together where God is an invited guest.

At the time this felt as normal as playing hopscotch on the sidewalk out front. Now I realize the commitment it took for my parents to carve out and protect that time night after night. Today’s families attempting regular mealtime–be it supper, breakfast, or another time–must battle sports, meetings, lessons, practices, and work. It’s not a cake walk. Good activities encroach on great ones. At my house we’re spoiled right now. Some flexibility usually ensures at least one meal together each day–a flexibility we haven’t always had and don’t take for granted.

I’m not naive enough to suggest that there’s an easy answer. Some families who would trade their TV to spend more time together are prevented by external obstacles. …But can you imagine what the families of this country would be like if they spent half an hour eating together just a handful of times a week?

If you’ve read this blog for long you know that hunches tend to find me. This is no different. My hunch is that I’m a-preachin’ to the choir. …I’m realizing this post is pretty preachy, but that’s okay. I’d like to hear from the choir: what memories do you have of mealtime–past or present, good or bad? Or, what family time challenges do you notice or experience today?

…In case you’re wondering, that triangle still hangs in my parents’ home. I’m on the lookout for one of our own.