We started the New Year off quietly. It was a Sunday, but we didn’t go to church. We stayed at home and worked some and rested a little, and we ended the day with communion. Just the family, around the kitchen table. My husband talked about the simplicity of the remembrance, and we passed the lefse and the grape kombucha from blessed hand to blessed hand. Sharing the feast. Starting the year together.

I took pictures, even though Lyndon said it was distracting. I took pictures because I wanted to remember.

When I was younger and busy with the babies, we lived in the same town as my grandma. I’d pile us into the old car, once a week or so, and we would go and visit. And the bigger boys would race down the hall to her room while I came more slowly, with the baby and the bags. And we’d sit and talk and look through the old pictures and remember.

I was there on a Sunday once. A Sunday afternoon, sitting on the edge of her bed with the baby in my lap and the boys on the floor. And a woman from Grandma’s church came, smiling and gentle, with communion for her. She spread the little banquet out on the small table, and she invited me to join.

And I said no.

I said I’d already had communion at my church earlier that morning. But the truth is, I was caught off guard. I had been raised in a certain way, in a certain fellowship, with certain ideas of truth and the right way to do things. And Grandma’s way was different.

So I sat and watched as Grandma and her friend took the bread and the wine together, and I heard Grandma say this is as close as we can get to Him in this world. And I saw her close her eyes and pray and commune.

And I’ve wished, ever since, that I’d accepted the invitation. I wish I’d said yes. I wish I’d shared that moment with her. I wish I’d learned earlier in my life to move past the well-intentioned message of my early faith education.

The message that kept me from sharing communion with my grandmother when I had the chance.

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