what I love… part 1

1) I love having someone (or some cat) to cuddle with. My cat curled up under the covers with me and I felt so loved
2) I love watching television and looking for the humanity and redemption in the characters.
3) I love it when someone cooks for me
4) I love eating dinner with friends/family around a table.

Every week, we go to my sister/brother-in-laws house and have dinner with them and our neice and nephew. We each bring something to the table.  Tonight, we’re bringing the pizza bread and dessert and they are making homemade soup.  We laugh, we talk about our weeks, we plan for our futures, we tease…

At least once a month, we gather around a table at my in-laws with the whole family for a meal.  It’s usually the same thing – something off the grill, barbeque chicken, potatoes, green beans, and salad.  It’s all simple food and it’s SO good. we do a lot of teasing and we play cards and we have a good time.

This week I had two other table meals.  First for a funeral supper.  And while I sat at a table with people who were strangers, by the time we left, we were acquainted.  We talked about what a good man the gentleman who had died was.  We talked about the food – and holy cow was that walnut nut cake GOOD! We talked about where we were from – and everyone was curious about who I was – how old I was – where I cam from.  

Our other table meal was at the church.  We are starting a new monthly tradition of a potluck during youth group time.  And so around this table was some of our normal youth group crowd, plus parents and grandparents and other people from the congregation who just want to be there.  And when we finished eating around that big huge table, we played games together. 

What do I love about eating around a table?  It’s eucharistic.  We get to know one another better around the table.  We have to look other people in the face.  We talk.  We share.  We pass the plates and we pass stories. Especially when young and old, rich and poor, strangers and friends gather in one place there is a sense that without this larger community, we are nothing.  We need one another.  Our lives are incomplete – the table is incomplete – unless they are there. 

Sometimes the table is awkward.  Many times we do start as strangers.  There were times during each of those last two meals I mentioned when there were silences we didn’t know how to fill, or clique conversations that left others out. 

But there were also moments of pure grace and fellowship.  An older gentleman who reconnected with a youth that hasn’t been in church for a few years. A beautiful woman who is 93 years old who wanted to send me one of her cookbooks – that she has handwritten.  The congregation seeing glimpses of the lives of our young people and the ways that they take care of one another.  Hearing hurts and pains – and knowing you were in a place safe enough to share them. 

There is a reason that we gather at the table.  There is a reason Christ gathered his disciples around a table.  It is where community happens.

My husband and I rarely eat at the table.  Dinner time comes at the same time some of our favorite shows are on and so we normally fill our plates and plop down on the couch together.  And for some reason, to be honest, the table for just two seems pretty empty.  But when we have friends over, we eat at the table.  When family comes over, we eat at the table.  And when our family gets bigger – eating at the table will be required =)

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