Community Around The Table
Wednesday August 22, 2018
For close to a year now, Clarence and I have hosted a neighborhood group - a weekly gathering of people from church who meet at our home on Wednesday evenings. We stand around our kitchen island and recenter over cheese, crackers, a new dip recipe someone has tried. Once we settle into the living room, the couch holds our bodies while they loosen a bit, as if the words we release carry the invisible weight of being human - sorrow as heavy as rocks, or joy overflowing. We pray, we delight, we lament.
We recently had a big birthday bash for Clarence as he turned 34. For those who know my husband, a party of 30 people is not what he would’ve instinctively chosen. Extremely cerebral and thoughtful by nature, his idea of a good time is diving deep into a new hobby, learning everything about anything, or relaxing over a beer. But we had just finished the deck and he had nearly wrapped up building the outdoor patio furniture (diving deep into a new hobby, remember?) so we invited our friends and family over for evening merrymaking under the trees. We filled the same kitchen island with as much kabob skewers, tzatziki dip, and crostinis as it could hold, our close ones passing in and out of the house with the beat of kids puttering around, shouts of a basketball throwing contest, and mamas nursing their babies as they held onto shared experiences - long nights, you, too?
These moments around the table, whether they’re weekly or scattered, have consistently been the times where the hum of lingering conversations stay pressed on my soul long after the last person has left. I’ve been challenged to be fully present for them, particularly in our current social media culture where it’s so easy for the magic of these gatherings to be distorted into a production for external consumption rather than the intimacy it’s intended for. Breaking of bread with one another is an ancient tradition that we want to hold sacred. Whether it’s the daily dinner consisting of weekend leftovers, the well-planned feast that took two days to prep, the simplicity of dipping good bread in even better olive oil - the physical intake around authentic conversation is a nourishment that nothing can replicate. Community done well is around the table, however unpolished, raw, and inconvenient it may be. Here’s to a lifetime of that.