BY DAWN LAWRENCE
I don’t remember what she said word for word, but years ago a dear friend of mine mentioned something about how she always pictures us at the table, spending time together there the most. She took notice of it being a key part of how I do life with people and how so much happens around the table–essentially, that it’s the gathering place. That observation couldn’t be more true. It always has been. Growing up, the kitchen table is where my friends and I would spend endless hours together and even now that hasn’t changed.
Whether I’m making a meal, baking, serving coffee, reading, catching up on someone’s life, giving someone a glass of water...it’s at the table. It’s a place that I treasure, a place where things come together, where possibilities constantly grow. Some of the best ideas and dreams come alive there, through conversation and prayer, through silence and rest. And whether we make it happen or not, it’s where the day-to-day takes place, where everyone can gather with the common need to be fed. Obviously a table doesn’t need to be there for people to eat, but it can serve as a resting place, where provision and intimacy is offered, a place where everyone meets on the same level and can lay any heavy burdens down.
Shauna Niequist says it best in her book, Bread & Wine, “What makes me feel alive and connected to God’s voice and spirit in this world is creating opportunities for the people I love to rest and connect and be fed at my table. I believe it’s the way I was made, and I believe it matters.”
That is exactly why I choose the table, and why I always have–it’s the way I was made, and it matters. Bringing people to the table is life-giving and joyful for me. I vividly remember things that happen around the table, whether I’ve been the one offering up my own space or being offered someone else’s. I’ve been given encouragement and wisdom, coffee and pancakes, laughter and tears, all around the table.
What do you remember from life you’ve lived around the table, from gatherings (small and large) that bring people together, from the times you’ve been nourished? What is important to you about those moments of pausing and being together at the table?