It was never in the living room. Our lives happened around a slab of wood.
Our kitchen table was a sacred space growing up. We did the hard work of developing our beliefs and our character, asked big questions and shared all of our dreams. We fumbled over apologies and worked on humbling ourselves enough to ask for help. It was the spot for homework, dinners, celebrations, mourning, building and mending relationships, and everything else in between. Our family loves to eat and we believe in the beauty of sitting around a table together.
“We don't come to the table to fight or to defend. We don't come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel.” - Shauna Niequist.
Gathering around a table can remind us of our need to connect with others. I'd be lying if I told you that we didn't eat dinner in our car or in front of the TV sometimes, because we definitely do. Our meals happen in a lot of spaces away from our table and fit into the gaps in our busy schedules.
But it's when I'm sitting at our table, with friends, family, and neighbors that I'm reminded of it's importance.
When we're at the table we aren't focused on winning arguments or persuading another person to share our political views. We aren't preoccupied with our busy schedules or trying to multi-task. We gather at the table to feed ourselves and others.
It's not about our differences as much as it's about our similar, human need to be fed.
|We need our tables.
I don't have answers to a lot of the complex issues in the world, but I do wonder what would happen if we sat around the table more and fed one another.
"When you offer peace instead of division, when you offer faith instead of fear, when you offer someone a place at your table instead of keeping them out because they’re different or messy or wrong somehow, you represent the heart of Christ" *
We can choose to use our tables to change our lives, our families, and our community, one meal at a time. I want mine to be a haven from the pace of the day, for my family and anyone who sits at it.
Try inviting someone new to eat with you (a neighbor, an acquaintance, etc.)
Put your phones away at the table
Pick a thoughtful question to ask at a mealtime ("what is life-giving for you lately?" "What are you learning right now?" etc.)
Look around your table and really notice each person.
It's not just a slab of wood. It's a special space.