Eating Without Hope

Eating Without Hope


“To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.”  Pearl S. Buck

Dieting is eating but it isn’t what I would define as eating to live.  Having lived in New Orleans for several years, I experienced what it meant to eat and to live.  Meals were savored, not rushed.  Lingering over each bite of food while commenting on the flavors and aromas made eating so much more than just consuming food.

Eating in New Orleans was a social occasion.  Good friends seated at a table sharing food, conversation and a bit of their respective lives.  Food and drink were to be thoroughly enjoyed while you examined where you were in your relationships and where you might be going in your life as each day unfolded.

Food tasted better while eating with friends and colleagues.  Each bite added to the sum of the experience known as lunch or dinner or a late night treat.  Good friends, good food, good memories helped us to drift towards a sense of hope in our lives.

The hope we felt after sharing a meal was the hope born from being comfortable in the world, satisfied with our friendships, and literally full of nourishment.  Hope seemed like a noble purpose to pursue, a reason to thrive.  It resulted from the comfort of food, fellowship, conversation, and an awareness of living a full life, taking in all the tastes, all the flavors, all the textures and all the moments of calm relaxation.  This was eating with hope, of being alive.

Yet there are many examples in the world of people eating without a sense of hope.  And this taste of hope, while eating, is a form of starving – starving to death.

Standing in line, waiting for food, waiting to eat, waiting without a sense of hope, this is the starvation of which Pearl Buck speaks.  You and I can quickly look up the statistics for those in the world who are hungry or malnourished.  We can even go a step further and support organizations that seek to feed the hungry.  But have we found a way to share the hope that might go along with a hot meal, any meal?  Can we be present at tables where hope isn’t realized?

What about those who are alone at mealtime?  What are we doing for them to offer them hope in their aloneness?  What about the elderly, those confined to institutions and nursing homes?  Is hope their companion at dinner?  Or are they starving to death too?

“Every life should have a noble purpose.”  What could be nobler than sharing hope and a meal with someone who might otherwise be eating, yet still be starving?





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Author: Jon

Aspiring Writer and Blogger. Former Banker, Teacher, Headmaster and Pastor.

6 thoughts on “Eating Without Hope”

  1. One of things I find most fulfilling with my work at Meals on Wheels is the delivery of fresh cooked meals, but not to be overshadowed by the ability to check in with what for most part is a hidden population. These are often folks desperate for conversation and a connection with a person who is still out in the world.

    1. I was thinking of you and several others I know who volunteer for Meals on Wheels. What a great thing to do. How long has it been now that you were volunteering? Thanks. I appreciate your comment.

  2. I’m reading “Hope’s Edge: the Next Diet for a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappé. It’s so interesting to see examples of things like elementary school children growing their own gardens and community supported agriculture can give hope and prevent things like poverty & food inequality.

    This blog post and “Hopes Edge” have too many similarities for you to not check it out!

    1. Adrien, thanks for your feedback and your suggestion to look up Lappe’s book. It is hopeful to know some folks are attending to the issue of hunger and social policy. Is this an interest of yours? It will be challenging. Thanks again. Subscribe to my blog if you’d like. I attempt to focus hope on topics like hunger, loneliness, poverty, and injustices of all kinds. Jon

  3. I am privileged to never have to wonder where my next meal is coming from and yet I experience a sort of poverty of spirit because I use food to feed my emotions. I have done a lot of work to try and change this and yet I sometimes think it will not really change until I’m dead. I am utterly in love with food and divorce is hard. What I call “food freedom” means eating as much of whatever I want whenever I want and this will ultimately kill me I’m sure. I know this strays from your main point, Jon, but this is what your post stirs up for me. I appreciate what you’ve said here.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Food goes way beyond satisfying our body’s nutritional requirements doesn’t it? In a crazy world, we look for comfort in many places. That you realize your relationship with food is a positive sign of your understanding of foood’s effect on your life. One of the reasons I meditate is to spend time away from eating. The peace I find in meditation affects my desire to grab at whatever food is available. Then I think of those who go without food. I ask what can I do in my life to assist them in some way. Thank you again for your response to my post. I know you will find an answer.

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