The other day I was walking past my dining room window in the early evening waiting for some guests to arrive for dinner and some pottery. From the side rear herb garden I could see into the dining room and could see the candle sticks on the dining room table. Dinner: moo shoo pork and fried dumplings was prepped and ready for the arrival and the bananas had been caramelized for the ice cream we had for desert with coffee and chocolate. I like this meal because it is rich and diverse and yet very inexpensive - mostly cabbage - and pot stickers come from the Saigon Market for $5 per bag of a lot, which serves about a million people.
As I walked by the window and saw the dining room - pregnant with expectation for the laughter, good food and cheap wine which would all flow like rivers into an ocean of joy and friendship - I was aware of how important friends are and how valuable is time with them in this speedy, disconnected, over-caffeinated, under silenced society in which we live.
We set a date. We plan a fun event. We shop for food. We break out recipes. We drink wine and argue about the best way to brown the meat and when to place the chili peppers in. We laugh and cry about our successes and failures of the week.
Words like commune and communicate, community, commonality and common all come from a 13th century word "comun" which means to "talk intimately." It occurs to me as I look into the dining room in anticipation of the friends arriving (Kai is busy pooing, but he will bark when he hears the cars drive up!) that we will be together in commune. We are not a commune - not in the 60's hippie sort of sense - and yet a bit...a little. We will leave our work behind and for six or eight hours we will cook and taste and drink and laugh and share our lives together and learn from each other's wisdom. Over some good food, we will talk intimately.
I wonder if what people want from religion is nothing more than to be connected - to find a commune or sorts - some communion. Because when I am with my friends over a long dinner, it feels an awful lot like church.