As I rummage through the ephemera my mother left behind (journals, art, receipts, psychiatric prescriptions, etc.) I remember a prayer we used to recite before dinner:
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything.
My mother didn’t make that up. “World So Sweet” is a folk prayer, i.e., the original author is unknown. You can speak it or sing it. My mother and I spoke it.
I find it a comfort to know I was the beneficiary of and participant in such an author-less oral tradition as a children’s mealtime prayer. No one was due any royalties for our reciting it. It was not Brought to You by Our Valued Sponsors. “World So Sweet” was just a swinging rhythm, a hypnotic rhyme, a picturesque moment to appreciate the life we received through some infinitely improbable twist of cosmically local organic chemistry, and a moment of peace before delving into the government cheese made simply gourmet through my mother’s mysterious kitchen chemistry. Meat loaf. Pasta. Even our Friday night doughnut, halved and slowly savored by candlelight, got the “World So Sweet” treatment.
I’m not a religious man by any measure, but as I sit here six months after my mother’s death recalling one of the prayers she raised me with, I wonder that she may have bequeathed to me richer spiritual underpinnings than I realize.
The rummaging continues.