“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Forks scraping plates. Wine splashed into glasses. Clinking dishes. Fits of laughter. Sometimes tears. Always growth.

As a child, I would look up from my booster seat at a neighbor or my dad’s coworker sitting across the table. I didn’t know that not every house was equipped with a revolving door frequently ushering people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and languages to the dinner table. This was my normal.

As I grew older, I became responsible for setting the table or peeling potatoes, sometimes begrudging guests for this. But, when dinner was finally served, I had a front-row seat to conversations with a Taiwanese exchange student or a local candidate running for office.

And now today as I whip up French toast for lunch with a classmate, I’m thankful for what my mom’s hospitality taught me: that food brings people together in ways that nothing else can. Food is a common denominator across humanity, a glue when nothing else will bind.

I want my table to fill people with the best bread and wine they’ve ever tasted, to welcome and accept all, to soften hearts and build trust, to encourage a culture of learning from each other no matter how different we are, and to create a community that celebrates and grieves together.

I want to nourish bodies and souls.

— Sarah Kalmbach