If you live in the United States, this last week has been filled with a lot of emotion. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, there has been a lot of conflict, fear, and division–a lot of which I have felt deeply. I needed most of last week to sit quietly and reflect on what was (and would have been, no matter the outcome) a historic presidential election. My emotions have been on a rollercoaster for a while now, and I really needed some time to recover.
My time of reflection has led me to a number of conclusions–many of which I will not discuss here. But one of the most pressing has been the importance of coming back to a welcoming table. In the last week I have found myself sitting with other people around tables, talking and eating, trying to figure out how we will now navigate our world. Sometimes our conversations have been angry and filled with fear. Other times we have sat silent, shocked, trying to wrap our minds around current events. Always, the table has been the place of joining and conversation, both with like-minded people, and with those who don’t quite understand where the others are coming from.
So I encourage you: come back to the table.
There is something timeless and constant in gathering around comforting food to talk, challenge, and learn from others. Food is a common bond for all of us. Even as the election results were coming in and I was in a room split between the two candidates, I spent time with someone to whom I was completely opposed ideologically, talking about how to make a killer grilled-cheese sandwich. In the moments we spoke about food, we were united, drawn back together in commonality.
So, come back to the table. Learn from each other–but maybe not about politics for now. See the humanity in people whose positions make you scared, angry, or bewildered. Maybe it is too soon for you to do that, and you need more space to grieve. I get that. I support that. For you, I say come back to a table where there is support from others, where you can connect and feel the hopefulness of knowing that you are not alone, and there are people who will advocate with you and for you. But come back to the table, because it is a powerful symbol of unity, togetherness, and nourishment. And those are all things we could use right now.