Brunch: The Importance Of Showing Up

[ 3 minute read ]

Like Christmastime or the Olympics, brunch means something different to every person.

If you asked ten people, What do you love about brunch?, there'd be an array of answers: MIMOSAS! Oozing Eggs Benedict. The prospect of bumping into a potential lover. The anxiety of bumping into a former lover. The blissful knowing that if you're at brunch, it is the weekend.

Even though I've never been much of a brunch go-er, last weekend solidified for me what brunch can be at its best and why I want to make this a ritual in my life.

Last Saturday, two of my dear friends trekked from Manhattan and Queens to see how I was doing in my new neighborhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The subway system in New York is notorious for being slow, tricksy, and unreliable (especially on the weekend), so their gesture meant all the more.

My recipe for a thoughtful brunch includes three ingredients: people I love and care about, decadent food, & meaningful conversation.

Each Saturday and Sunday, restaurants open their doors and provide service (hopefully kind service), food (hopefully delicious), and space for brunch-goers to make it what they want.

What I especially noticed last weekend was that even in the midst of heartache, the time spent at brunch reminded me I don't have to carry those feelings alone.

A much-needed rant, with a side of carbs, can do wonders for the psyche.

We had the chance to laugh about the absurdity of living in New York, the drama that can sometimes unfold at work, among other odds and ends. I'm convinced that a joy spoken among poached eggs and pancakes is that much sweeter.

Psychotherapist Irvin Yalom, in his book The Gift of Therapy, talks about the power of the "here-and-now". Even though he refers to it in the therapeutic sense, I think it can still apply even to brunch. What is happening here - "the in-betweenness - the space between me and you" - is important.

The physicality of showing up for one another matters. 

During brunch (at its best), we can showcase our wounds, flaunt our joy, and admit our angst at the table. We bring to that meal what we can't process alone; what we'd rather celebrate with others.

Many faith traditions and spiritual gatherings call this testimony. A powerful tool not only for individual reflection, but for communal transformation. One person brings a story to share. The crowd - the witnesses - acknowledge, affirm, and create space for that story to be heard.

Not every brunch has to be a pouring-out of one's soul. Sometimes a successful brunch looks like dragging yourself to the table, hair disheveled, eager to smother the previous night's shenanigans with coffee and grease.

Either way, I want my brunches to be better. I want to show up at the table.