There is a round table that now sits in my Dining Room, and it is called the Table of Grace. It just landed here last week, from Texas by way of Pennsylvania. It’s been passed down through the family, and now it’s ours to take care of. I love sitting at it. It’s heavy, made of solid wood, and seasoned in its years. It carries its own stories, just like me. As I sit at this table I wonder who will gather here. Over the next decade or two, who will sit here, break bread, share in prayers, and dive into discussions and memories, laughter and tears?
As I sit here thinking about the now, my heart pulls faded memories of similar tables where we gathered with my children. Everyday meals, and special Holidays… it all happened right there. It’s Thanksgiving, and although I am deeply grateful for the life I have and the loved ones that surround me, I am also deeply sad and missing my Boys. At the same time, I am deeply held in awe as I wake up to my Little Girl cooing and crawling across the floor to reach for what ever captures her attention. It is possible to feel all of this simultaneously, just like ingredients to the perfect Thanksgiving Meal.
The Dining Room table is multifunctional, and often used for doing homework while I prepped and cooked dinner. It may be the same at your house, too. That way, I could keep an eye on my eldest and answer questions he had regarding his homework. His little brother typically sat across from him, peering through the rims of his Ninja Turtle glasses and tracing his letters onto lined paper to learn the strokes and patterns of writing in cursive. Do your kids stick out their tongues when they concentrate? It was so frustrating. For both of them. Homework was tough and using new muscles to hold a pencil was exhausting, especially when you hold it too hard. They just wanted someone else to do it for them. I get it! Sometimes I want that too! But that was not part of the deal. They had to learn to think for themselves, make mistakes, and grow into this world as their own people in their own bodies, with their own thoughts, and it was my mission and honor to help teach them to do so. I wonder what kind of school projects my daughter will get into and how on earth will I protect this gorgeous masterpiece from her? She will no doubt become a master of her own creative flow – glitter and glue included and encouraged – and I will have to get even more creative in how to allow for that and protect this heirloom simultaneously. Sitting at the Table of Grace is often frustrating. For everyone. Even the cook. Often dinner gets burned from having to keep small hands on task while learning, exploring, and building confidence.
It’s Thanksgiving, and we love to host family and friends for the Holiday Feast. Part of the fun is pulling together recipes and savoring the flavors just by holding the Desire and dreaming it into being. Now that we have a Dining Room table again, I look forward to hosting this special meal next year. This year we travel to be with family and will sit at their table, absorb the aromas wafting from their kitchen. Ultimately we will fall asleep on one another as we lounge across the couches, feet fighting for space on the coffee table while watching the Macy’s Day Parade or another Holiday Classic. Sooner, rather than later, the tryptophan will settle in, and we will be a choir of snoring wonders filling the Living Room.
The Holidays can be filled with so many frustrations, expectations and ideas on how to cook certain recipes a certain way to do it “right.” The food, after carefully curating the perfect menu, may even get burned. In the end we all sit at the table. In the end we all have a chair. Beyond the frustrations or sadness that we all hold, what is truly palpable is the grace in which we serve one another with our presence of simply being together. Perhaps that is the perfection in these moments. Because of the hardships we have endured, we open our doors, and our hearts, and welcome them all in to be blessed and shared among others. In sharing, it infuses the burdens and even makes them sweet. How present are you feeling today? Do you need to reach out to someone and feel that connection? Could you breathe even deeper and pull up a chair, offer a hand in the kitchen or get into the conversation? Can we find the shared strength to be grateful for the things that bring us to this table? What ingredients are you bringing to the Table of Grace so we can all experience the fullness of life-flavors that are ours to appreciate and honor?
Thank you for being here and thank you for all that has brought you here to this moment today. Thank you for all that your heart holds dear, and thank you for sharing that with us.
God bless it, and please pass the gravy!