A bit of necessary set up. I married into a Mormon family. D's parents are good folks, although they do have a few peculiarities concerning their faith. I was raised to say grace before every meal, they say a blessing. Or rather, one of them extemporizes a blessing, or dad assigns the blessing to an individual when the extended family is present. The LDS church has no professional clergy, and amateur speechifying is the norm. In my limited experience, painfully so.
Almost 19 years ago, when I first began going to holiday meals with the 'rentsinlaw, I dreaded the possibility of being asked to perform this, but decided I would simply give the catholic grace. Thing is, it never happened. Sometime in the last decade or more, I assumed that was off the table, and forgot my early fallback.
Grace in my original family was a participation ritual, murmured fairly quickly in unison. I heard it, more or less, thusly "blessesolord, antheezigfs, whicheeraboutoreceev, fromeyebuntytokrice, hourlower, AMEN." Rote prayer, but I got that gratitude for food was important, and I love the practice of thankfulness.
Easter Sunday, we sit to eat with D and his parents, a brother and his wife, and D's dad turns to me and says "Will you say the blessing." (Note lack of question mark.) I said "I'd prefer not." He went very quiet, and I turned to him and gently said "I'm sorry, but I'd prefer not." He turned to D, who gave the expected, and expected-sort of blessing, in shortest possible form. I thought then about saying grace, but it was too late. Plus, he'll never ask me that again. And then, I forgot.
Twelve hours later, I woke, and thought, what did I do? And why didn't my gut clench and my adrenaline gush, as it once certainly would have? I serenely performed the right action, how did I do that? Because saying that old prayer, while socially appropriate, would imply that I still believe in that religion, to people who take that sort of thing very seriously. Keeping my views respectfully private is not the same as telling an outright lie. I don't mind that I was, eventually, asked, however strangely out of the blue, but I am dumbfounded that I so instinctively reacted in a way that expressed my integrity.
But then, I do have a reflexive NO when pressed. So much easier to delay with a no, think about it, and turn it to a yes. Much harder the other way. Caught off guard, I will back off, turn away, demand time to think. Typical mark of a writer. I think slow, but I think deep.
Or maybe, I had a moment of Grace.