The Informant is 21 years old, a junior at USC studying Dramatic Arts, and is from Evanston, Illinois.
Him: You know how a lot of people say grace before every meal? Like they pray to God to bless their food before they eat it and stuff? Well, my family have always said a different grace than my family friends and stuff. Every time I go to someone else’s house and they do grace, it’s different from my family’s. We say this prayer, ‘Bless us Our Lord, for these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive, through thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.’ I’ve never heard another family say it like us.
Me: That’s the one my family and I say!
Him: What, really? No way.
Me: I swear to God.
Him: Well, also, we do it for a different reason, I think. Like, my family has never said grace to bless the food. When I hear that other people do that, I don’t get it. We do it so that we can center the family and meet as one before we eat. Like, when I eat alone, I never do grace. I only do it when I’m with people. Like, why would I bless my food? I want to bless the company I’m with, you know? But yeah. No one does it like us in that regard. I don’t know if it’s always been that way, like I don’t know the actual reason why the Rashids started doing grace, probably for purely religious reasons, but that’s how I know it now.
Me: So in other words, it’s not for religion purposes, it’s about bringing the family together.
Him: Yeah! Like, we don’t go to church or anything like that at all. And I don’t really pray or anything. But when I’m with my family, I say grace with them for the purpose of being closer to them.
This shows the ways that prayer can bring non-religious families together with different intentions. By seeking to bless the family rather than the food, the Informant’s family place a larger emphasis on their company and their bloodlines than on the sustenance that has been provided. In other words, they probably also value family quality time over income and time spent at work. Knowing the informant rather well, I can affirm this. The Informant spends as much time as he can with his family, probably because the significance of family has been instilled in him since a very young age.
It’d be interesting to compare the familial closeness of an orthodox catholic family, where prayers may strictly be followed based off of their original intentions, with the Informant’s family where tangible experiences with the present company are the ones that are most valued.