What’s all the fuss about the table?
Table traditions run deep here in the south.
Particularly, in the community I call home.
Potluck to picnics.
Kids are taught early, come supper time, you call it a day to take your seat at the table..
I’ll never forget one of the first times I had supper at the cowboy’s house.
We’d been dating a few months. I had become fairly familiar with most of his family through church and wasn’t all that nervous about joining them for supper until I realized all eyes were on me as I sat (shaking) in my chair.
The awkward silence and blatant stares let me know something was wrong.
The cowboy’s brother (who I am certain has the gift of mercy) glanced toward the other end of the table where an extra chair had been placed.
His eyes said, that was my chair.
I had unknowingly perched myself in their daddy’s chair.
It was the same way at my house.
Everyone had assigned seats at momma’s table..
I remember as a teen, one of my sisters got a wild hair and decided to shake things up by rearranging the seating arrangement.
Best I can recall, there were tears, loud talking (similar to gnashing of teeth) and in the end, everyone went back to their assigned seats.
There’s just something special about gatherin’ round the table.
Kinda magical really.
The conversations, the memories, laughter, correction, storytelling.
It’s about so much more than food.
There have been tons of studies and all kinds of fancy research with proven benefits of eating around the table.
Our small group from church actually just discussed this very topic last Wednesday night, and unanimously agreed that gathering round the table should remain a priority even when life gets crazy.
You say, but you don’t know my family.
And I would say, no, maybe we haven’t met; but may I encourage you by introducing you to mine?
LADIES & GENTLEMEN ……WELCOME……….
Seriously, when we meet at momma’s on Sunday nights with my sisters and all our tinies who are so very loud and often so very, very circus-like.
Most of the time, we eat in shifts.
Kids first. Adults last because there are so many of us.
And on any given day at my own house, there could be a dog under our table, a kid climbing over the back of the booth seat or something sticky in your seat.
I never said table time was peaches and cream or quiet or calm or pinterest-like.
Some nights there’s fussing, other nights there’s silence (and not the good kind of silence, but rather the mad-frowny-faced kind) and lots of nights (almost always) there are spills but still-
it’s worth it
Still not convinced?
Listen to what my six year old said when I asked him,
“Son, what’s your favorite thing about eating at the table?”
“I just like it. It’s our family eating meeting. Hey momma, I rhymed.“
Not that you would need any more reasons after my son’s matter-of-fact-case-and-point statement…yet should you need more reasons why…
Here are 3 reasons why you should give the table a try:
1. you can LOOK EM’ IN THE EYE!
Oh, how many, many truths are spoken without a word, right? Just a look can say so, very much. Just like that night, at the cowboy’s house when I sat in his daddy’s chair. Nobody had to tell me to get up and move. Their looks told me what to do.
How many hours or days has it been since you looked YOUR PEOPLE in the eye.
Gatherin’ round the table allows you to look at those you love most right in the face.
Table time allows us to make time for things like eye-contact.
Seriously, this is so simple, and yet too often overlooked.
2. you can TALK TO YOUR PEOPLE- IN PERSON
No phones or technology allowed.
What a great way to momentarily unplug and fly off the map for a half hour and actually have a conversation with your people!
No, it’s not rocket science and no, I’m not the inventor of the idea, but a protector of it in our home.
We talk, or converse with each other; meaning we question and respond to the one speaking.
And as an added bonus we laugh with and at each other. I
You should totally try it, this talking thing.
Like trying the english peas from your plate.
Talking with your people, try it, you might like it.
3. you can GET TO KNOW THEM!
You know? the people you live with, you CAN KNOW THEM.
No lie. I get it.
We have persevered through many extremely busy seasons where it felt like we barely knew the people living in our house.
Growing up at home and here.
When I was working full time outside of the home, flying it at random hours, grabbing something to eat for the family on the way in, only to rush in, tell them to swallow without chewing because ain’t nobody got time to chew…for the love we’ve got to shower and get to bed and start all over again!
Yea, those days, we barely knew each other.
And it would have continued lest we stopped and said something had to change.
J and I decided when the boys were much younger than they are now, that we wanted for our children what we had growing up, time around the table.
We made an intentional choice and have, by the grace of God, protected it.
On mornings when he doesn’t have to open the store, we eat breakfast together. On days his shoeing schedule allows, we eat lunch and not every evening, but most evenings, we eat supper together at the table.
It’s not always homemade, but it’s always at the table or in our case, mostly -the booth.
We look each other in the eye, we talk and listen to each other.
We leave the table with more than a satisfied stomach…..a nourished, encouraged soul =stronger relationships.
And as it turns out, after we’ve talked and visited with each other, most days -we still like each other.
PLEASE NOTE: if you haven’t made gathering round the table a practice in your home but you are considering it-
KNOW THIS ….
it won’t be this
it may be more like a train wreck to begin with…..
it could very possibly get worse before it gets better
and may actually cause a great deal of this
Because kids fuss. Parents get aggravated. Things get spilt.
PERSEVERE my friends~!
HANG IN THERE! and remember..Rome wasn’t built in a day nor are family traditions made overnight…..
KEEP GOING….Each time should get a lil bit better!
To my single friends, widows and widowers, what better place to gather with friends than around the table.
Once a week to often for you? Try once a month.
You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to gather round such an intimate place, with some delicious food and fabulous friends.
Now, it’s YOUR TURN.
What does it look like, sound like, smell like around your table???
I can’t wait to hear your table stories….