Tonight I hosted my group in our congregation’s dinner club at my humble rented combo, where my roommates were generous enough to provide some privacy and fourteen drumsticks of tasty baked chicken to add to tonight’s comfort food theme. As the other dinners have been, this one was an enjoyable evening , even if our next evening soiree is not planned for another two months. At least, from what I can see, I have a somewhat busy schedule planned when it comes to social events, so I do not think my desire to eat out with friends, even if not necessarily everyone I would want to eat with, is going to suffer in the meantime. And for that, I am glad, because I greatly enjoy such nights as tonight not only in the food and the conversation, but what it signifies when one is eating with someone else and enjoying a good time.
I occasionally remember the time my mother and I catsit one time for my brother, who had a very entertaining cat. One of the many adorable quirks his cat had was being a social eater in that she did not like to eat alone. This is, of course, an odd habit, but it happens to be a habit I share. To the great detriment of my checking account, I too greatly dislike eating alone. Whether I am eating at work and reading and occasionally interacting with coworkers, or going out to dinner with a consistent group of people, or going to dinner parties or enjoying a casual evening with friends, or even frequently going out to eat with no company except for a book, I too am a social eater who finds it immensely depressing to eat alone, even if I am fairly frequently by myself and alone.
So, a night like tonight provides enjoyment simply by showing me in my natural habitat, involved in witty conversation with friendly people over food. These are all the sorts of things that help make life enjoyable and explain why I seek out this sort of opportunity so much. Tonight happened to be full of thoughtful and reflective conversation where all of the people had similar concerns about desiring to be known, to be liked, to be respected, to be able to better relate to our fellow brethren as members of the same spiritual family. Needless to say, these are all personal concerns of mine as well, so it was nice to see the same concerns shared by others. This appears to be a growing trend in my dinner conversations, the recognition of similarity with others and feeling more comfortable and relaxed in company. This is a trend I wholeheartedly support, as it would make my life a lot less stressful.
So, even though the topics raised were somewhat personal, dealing with biblical matters, our behavior towards others, the drama and difficulties we often find ourselves in, and other related subjects, it was refreshingly free of being teased about my love life, and full of compliments (and a bit of surprise) that I was able to make a competent and tasty chicken & vegetable soup. I may not greatly enjoy cooking for myself alone, but I do know how to prepare food and I enjoy doing so in certain circumstances, especially where they are enjoyed by others. And given that next week is a pot luck in honor of a retiring minister in our congregation, it appears that my skills at making salad, at the very least, will be in demand, and that is not something I mind at all. After all, eating and enjoying good company and long conversation is my natural habitat, should anyone ever be interested in seeing me at the zoo, for example. I suppose it does help to know where someone belongs, and to know that one was obviously not created to be alone. What to do about that is a more delicate matter.
 See, for example: