She has a group titled Project 10, and I don't yet know all the nuances of this group but they link their blogs on Wed. I don't even know what Project 10 means...10 lbs? 10 days? 10 inches? Frankly I can sign up for 10 lbs and 10 inches. I know their subject is their pursuit of a Healthier Life. I am on the same page there with our Healthy Choices. Overeating, food addiction, laziness...you name it and these women will convict the snot right out of your head.
This week Stephanie of Stephanie's Mommy Brain posted about one of the remaining remnants of my social life. She asked about whether our social time was about food or about our relationships.
Ack. She's killing me. Now she focused on her date night with her husband. But as an empty nester, date night is nearly every night if we wanted it to be. No, what immediately entered into my mind was the social activities of church and the fellowship of women. Just recently on an "off" week of our Bible study, we chickies met for dinner, dessert or just water and lemon. The food was really good, but our fun and laughter was the best. But for me, the food is the ice breaker. It stops the awkward silences....if someone stopped talking it may not because they were offended by what we said, object or disagree. They were likely to just be chewing their salad.
So the concept of fellowshipping with women WITHOUT the distraction of food, feels....unbiblical. Okay...that's a reach but I could argue it's proven by the fact that Christ's first miracle featured an event with food and wine. I don't know HOW to fellowship with women without food, not for flat out fellowship. In our Bible studies, they are generally food free but for the few times someone is in the mood and brings in a treat. But it's certainly not weekly. Not even monthly. But you say...hey let's get together for a fun night and there will invariably be discussion on "what will we bring to eat?" Should we do potluck? Soup or Salad? Should we do (dare we say the D word) Dessert? Even when we want to keep it low fat or body friendly, we will say....veggie trays, fruit trays...but it all equates to food has to be part of fellowship for it to feel fun and like fellowship.
Stephanie asked the question...
Do you go out with friends for the food or for the relationships?
I hated that question.
Obviously I'm meeting my friends for the relationship. I want to build more relationship. But I confess to the feeling that we need to (for lack of a better description) grease the skids of fellowship. To get conversation going. We had a riotous good time in that restaurant that night. I climbed into the car and my husband grinned at me and asked "Is your estrogen gauge refueled?" I assured him it was. We women had laughed, probably loud and obnoxiously. We caught up on each other's life, we talked over each other, and we surrounded each other with the sense of belonging and community.
A woman can go from, "Oh my word, this dip is a-MAZ-ing!" to "I'm feeling inappropriate feelings for a coworker" in the blink of an eye when she has a pita chip in her hand. But where food is absent, we seem to squirm in our seats and peek at each other as the clock ticks quietly on the wall. We desperately long for someone to say something meaningful. But we sit in awkward silence until something happens. Watch what happens to that same group of women if you unzip the big bag of peanut M & Ms.
This isn't a problem in Bible study and certainly not if I'm there because if it's quiet, it's a signal to me that I get to use my WORDS! But fellowship with people with whom you have not developed that deep knowing and respect for...we search for ways to connect. And food helps us find that connection. I don't know HOW to connect without the ease of foods.
When I want to minister to someone who is sick...I immediately think of soup, or my chicken and rice. When I want to treat someone special I think of my tea and cream cheese chicken. When I just want to be homey, I think of my homemade yeast bread. If I feel domestic, I bake a cake or cookies. From scratch. I eat a few and then try to think of an unsuspecting accomplice to foist these extras off on. I usually focus on someone with kids. I try to be respectful and choose the skinny kids. My landlady's bony children have eaten more than a few of my cupcake and cookie rejects. And they wipe out my extra butter-cream icings by the spoonfuls. They love me. They cheer when I knock on the door. Now I feel that I'm failing them if I'm just there to report that there's a leak under the sink.
I would love for some dialogue on how to resolve this food vs fellowship quandary I foisted upon myself...thank you EVER so much Stephanie. Anyone got any ideas on separating food from fellowship? I would love to hear how you invite someone to your home, with no intention of at least offering them dessert. Does your church schedule food-less fellowship? Anyone?
Anyone got anything?
Anything? *cicadas buzz in the background, the fish tank bubbles as the entire world waits for me to unzip the giant bag of peanut M&Ms.*