I caught Lydia mumbling to herself while bent over her dinner bowl at the far end of the table.

I turned to Andrea and smiled, “There you go Andrea, the best compliment you could think to receive.” I motioned towards the little girl, “I just heard Lydia whispering out loud about how much she likes the dinner you made.”

My daughter, hearing her name, looked up from her bowl of cauliflower casserole and frowned, “What?” she glanced down at her bowl and then back up at me, “Oh... Yeah. No, I didn’t say I liked dinner.”

“Oh, I thought I heard you say you liked it.”

“No. I still haven’t tried it yet actually. I was just praying and asking God to HELP me to like it.” she wrinkled her nose, “because it looks kind of yucky.”

Her mother and I held our smiles, “Oh. Okay. Well then. May God have mercy on you in your trials.” I picked up her fork and placed it in her reluctant hand.

She poked at a lump of cheese with her finger and took a deep breath.

In the end, I can’t say for certain whether or not she enjoyed it; occasionally she made some unflattering gagging noises that I chose to ignore. But later on, when she left the table, her bowl was empty. And perhaps in the end that is all that matters.

God, help me to always leave the table with an empty bowl, regardless of what you chose to put inside of it.