If You Could Have Dinner with Anyone, Anywhere, Who …

Have you changed your mind in, say, the last nine years? How about the most recent six-months?

I hope so.

In 2011 I wrote a post about an invitation to a feast. Any reader might choose anybody to be his companion in my hypothetical scenario.

The possibilities were unrestricted. Any person alive or dead would qualify: If You Could Have Dinner with Anyone in the World …

What I didn’t consider in offering the challenge and posting responses was a thing called time. Time appeared a near-infinite concept. No one who responded to my query lived in the presence of Azreal, the Grim Reaper, so far as they or I knew. Infection did not stalk the earth.

People made bucket lists assuming the planet would be as open to them in, say, nine years, as it stood on the day my essay popped up on WordPress. The normal human concerns about money, romance, and work remained ... normal. My respondents weren’t locked down, mask-wearing, social distancing creatures.

If you wanted to hug someone you’d hugged 100 times before, you might reach for embrace #101 without a thought. No dread needed to fill your head.

The value of skin against skin hadn’t skyrocketed. Closeness wasn’t an existential issue. Your loved one didn’t carry Death’s scythe with which to harvest you.

Now we esteem lives in a different way. Some of us do, at least. Indeed, there is a partisan difference even in Americans’ sex lives: Sex in the Era of Coronavirus.

But overall, perhaps we understand, in a less abstract way than we did in the pre-pandemic era, nothing is guaranteed. OK, taxes and death, the old standbys. Nothing else. The topic today is the same one in the earlier article, but with a guarantee of safety unneeded then.

If you could have a meal with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be? In this imaginary opportunity, the food will be safe; the virus will be vanquished, no caution to keep six feet apart, or wash hands again and again.

Is the question too easy? Are the answers predictable? I’m guessing the list of people is more limited. Perhaps I’m wrong.

Surprise me. Or not.

—–

The first image above is Death and Life by Gustav Klimt, sourced from Wikiart.org/ The one below it is Grim Reaper obtained from FreeSvg.

25 thoughts on “If You Could Have Dinner with Anyone, Anywhere, Who …

  1. Thomas Jefferson (or any other “statued” and once respected person in history) to see their thoughts on something accepted then but vilified now knowing how they would be judged in this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drgeraldstein

      I’d enjoy listening in to your discussion with Jefferson. He had more contradictions even than the slave holding one. As you might know, he enjoyed fine wine and bought tons of books. At the same time, he wasn’t great at paying his creditors. This could be a long dinner, Laura! Thanks for your voice in answer to my question.

      Like

  2. You! It would be with you. So many questions for the man who has kept my mind engaged for 11 years with so many varied and thought provoking subjects explored in your weekly writings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drgeraldstein

      You are too kind, Brewdun. But even without my provocation over dinner, I hope you keep asking yourself questions and change your mind on those subjects that age, science, truth, and reflection can inform us.

      Like

  3. Joan Chandler

    I would like to have dinner with my father who died when I was a child. I’ve wondered so many times how it would be to have a father as an adult.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would have dinner with Barack Obama without hesitation!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gb fragmented gumdrops

    Assuming everything is safe, I would honestly like to have dinner with God. I do not know if God eats dinner, but it would be nice to ask some questions about the afterlife, and whether or not there is a heaven. I would also ask God if He laughs and finds some things funny to watch. I doubt I would be able to eat in God’s presence, but I would be humble and ask a lot of questions. I would also ask to be healed from everything, including my mental illnesses. I suppose I would not need a dinner to ask these things. There are many people in my life I would like to have dinner with once this pandemic is over. It is hard to pick just one, so I went with God first.

    Like

    • I would have a meal with Jesus Christ. I have questions about how to forgive my father for abusing me. If not for his sake then for my own healing. I believe having lunch with Jesus could help me simplify my fears and perspective of my pain and anxiety. I get excellent support and reassurance from my therapist. Despite my anxiety I met with my priest to discuss trauma and forgiveness and it resulted in a small amount of light inside me when I felt full of darkness but Jesus could fill my soul with light.

      Liked by 1 person

      • drgeraldstein

        I can only think such a meeting would be transformative, PJ. I often encouraged those with some amount of faith to find the consolation their faith could offer them. I even encouraged a woman angry At God for permitting her father’s years long abuse to speak to a clergyman. I hope you find the relief you are seeking, PJ.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gb fragmented gumdrops

        There is a book that might bring you comfort in the areas you mention regarding forgiveness. It is penned by Dr. Leah Coulter, who has a PhD in Divinity and experience as a pastoral counselor. Her book is called “Rediscovering the Power of Repentance and Forgiveness.” Dr. Coulter introduces the concept of the “sinned-against,” who are victims of other people’s sins. She also asserts that repentance should come before forgiveness, and that forgiveness does not necessarily mean a reconciliation of relationship with the offender (sinner who sinned against you). My only disagreement there would be where God/Jesus seemingly shows a few instances in the Bible where He offers unconditional love through forgiveness as a process of encouraging all of us sinners (which includes the sinned-against, naturally) to LEARN about repentance along the way of incremental forgiveness. But apart from my opinion here, I found comfort in struggling with forgiveness to all of my abusers, and I learned why that struggle remained. I like Dr. Stein’s response to you, esp. the part where he said that he allowed a client to be angry at God, which speaks to the love and openness that God, creator of humans and their emotions (if that is the faith you believe in), has toward us humans when we express our emotions and thoughts with integrity to God. Jesus was able to understand the woman at the well in the book of John, and Jesus allowed doubting Thomas to see his scars, which is a loving and reassuring act on Jesus’s part. God/Jesus understands our pain, even as we do not understand it ourselves. I believe that God works in mysterious ways, including through the hands of others like therapists, doctors, researchers, educators, and clergy. When I said that I would want to have dinner with God, I included Jesus in that, along with my own admitted doubts, like Thomas, because I believe that a loving God already knows my doubts and skepticism, and would love me anyway. We all learn differently, and we all have different levels of faith in that learning process. In Isaiah 42:3, the Bible shows us that even God will not burn out a smoldering wick. So, no matter how dim we perceive our inner light, the light is still there, as is our mustard-seed of faith. Blessings and prayers.

        Like

      • Thank you for the info about the book and your insights.

        Liked by 1 person

    • drgeraldstein

      Interesting that you would ask God about his emotional life. I recall writing a post some long time ago about whether the Supreme Being is ever sad. I’m sure you’d have a unique experience. If he exists, of course, you might yet get to be with him! Thanks, gb.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My father’s father, my Opa. I never got to meet him, but I would have loved to! I see photos of him and my heart aches with a sense of loss. I don’t know why. Maybe I’d like to understand my dad a bit better. I feel if I could have dinner with my Opa, I could feel closer to my dad. I feel because I’ve never met my Opa I’ve never known my dad. I feel this sense of loss for my Dad. Maybe it’s my dad I really want to have dinner with….even though we have plenty of dinners together. Anyhoo, my musings…

    Liked by 1 person

    • drgeraldstein

      Much appreciated, Inger. Indeed, our family characteristics sometimes go a long way back. I’m sure your Opa would be informative in both what he said and what he didn’t say. And, since your dad lives, perhaps you will yet find something more of value in your relationship with him. Good luck!

      Like

  7. In these times of a pandemic, the people we would love to have dinner with may well include loved ones who live far away.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. drgeraldstein

    Possibly far away in multiple senses, Rosaliene. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s