Essay

Give Us This Day

breakfast circles*

by Christie Purifoy

Give us this day our daily bread …

I’ve prayed those words since I was a little girl. I grew up understanding them as metaphor. I wasn’t really asking for bread.

As I’ve continued to grow, as I’ve begun to watch my four children grow, I’ve found my faith becoming – not exactly more literal – but more material. Metaphors still matter, but I no longer hide behind them. I no longer use them to tie up my faith into tidy packages.

Because bread matters, too.

Give us this day our daily bread …

My six-year-old son is allergic to bread. I’ve watched his cheeks swell up like a chipmunk’s because he was given a regular wheat ice cream cone instead of the specially-purchased gluten-free.

He is also highly allergic to other common foods, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve stabbed him with the epi-pen.

I will never forget the fear in his eyes one day during an outing when his throat began closing up. He was terrified, but I knew how bad it was. I knew I had forgotten his epi-pen. That day, I learned that the very worst thing can happen, yet all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

Give us this day our daily bread …

For years I struggled with PCOS-related infertility. Since the birth of my miracle babies, I’ve continued to struggle with other PCOS symptoms. I see in so many undeniable ways, that the sugar and white flour we Americans love is crippling me. I know sugar isn’t nutritionally beneficial for anyone, but I am like that canary in the coal mine. It will hurt me first.

Give us this day our daily bread …

I’ve seen the documentaries. I’ve read the books. I worry about factory farming, about animals kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions. I worry about pesticide residues, for the health of my baby and the farm laborer.

I worry about the fossil fuels required to ship that banana to my store.

I worry whether my lactose-intolerant daughter is consuming enough calcium.

I worry, I worry.

Give us this day our daily bread …

Recently, a long-distance friend (a friend who has taught me that distance means nothing to the Holy Spirit) sent me an email. She wrote: “I’m not sure what’s going on, but I think these verses are for you.  Matthew 6. Especially verses 25-27.”

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

How many times have I read those words? How many times have I assumed they didn’t apply to me? I’ve never worried about having enough food. I’ve never worried about going hungry.

But, oh, have I worried.

Now, when I pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” I mean exactly what I say. Exactly that and so much more.

In those words, God meets me where I need him most.

And he gives me good things to eat.

 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!

People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;

You give them drink from your river of delights. (Psalm 36: 7-8)

DSC_7412_3-1Christie Purifoy is a wife and mother of four who lives in southeastern PA. A PhD in English lit., she recently traded the university classroom for an old farmhouse and a writing desk. She blogs at www.christiepurifoy.com.

*Beautiful photo by Kelli Campbell

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4 thoughts on “Give Us This Day

  1. I love how you’ve taken the metaphor for daily bread and given it a tangible weight, a material meaning. I’m convinced God meets us through the material things of the flesh–including the things we consume.

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