Saturday, August 15, 2009

Right and Privilege

Do we know the difference of these things? We count our freedom and the ‘right to speak freely’ as if it were not a privilege. We grumble about our wages, our work, the bills we have to pay. That we can pay them at all is a privilege. All of these in essence are really privileges. I am sorry to say that at times I also forget that in many ways I am privileged. I had/have a roof over my head, I learned the value of good food. I was/am loved by my parents and friends. Given an education, that I did not have to fight for the right to receive.

I started to look at this all a bit closer recently as I was putting together a menu for a retreat that I am blessed to be the Honoured Kitchen Diva. I thought about the food I was preparing, the quality of that which would be purchased; the attitude that would stand in the kitchen. I was struck suddenly with a realization of what a privilege it was for me to be able to fix healthy food, to feed others with love and care.

Healthy food. Food that would feed not only the bodies of the women attending, but their souls as well. It got me to thinking that yes, even the fact that we would eat three meals a day is a true luxury and privilege. I thought back to food I didn’t like as a child or didn’t want to eat. When I was told there were starving children around the world, my constant retort would be – “Then send it to them!”

Yet, here I am today working again on my menu for a weekend – that in itself is a privilege. That I have the time to ponder and am not having to be out forging for some scrap of food that is covered with mold. Having had my morning meal of oatmeal, and a cup of Joe. I could come back to my computer or pencil and paper working out the details. I also did not have in the back of my mind a worry about shelter or food, the very basic of rights for all living creatures. I could sit in the Joy of the process. Able to conjure the scents, colour and textures.

I count myself blessed to know the luxury of hunger. Indeed it is a luxury when you find yourself hungry and know that it is fairly easy to change the situation. How might my life be different if I had to wonder how I was to find my next meal, not what I would be eating, just that I would be able to eat?

To share a meal, to gather together to meet a basic need. To cook and prepare a meal with love in my heart. To honour how the food made it to the table, the work that went into the planting, harvesting, getting it to the market. Even living alone, we can take a moment to be grateful for the food in front of us. To notice what it is we are eating, even when it happens to be a bag of potato chips. To honour the gift of physical nourishment.

I ask that we give some thought to the places of our own privileges. How might we bring a more grateful heart to those places? I don’t have an answer, other then to suggest that it is in the noticing, the being present to them. To invite ourselves to experience the privileges we have completely alive in the moment.

Blessings to you. It is a privilege to be in the world with YOU!


  1. Thank you for reminding us of the gift of knowing where our next meal is coming from. I look forward to being your kitchen elf!