Especially this season love is alive. Showing up more often than not, love is right there. Love is there in the midst and mess of us. Love is in the “pass the salt,” “Boy this is amazing. How do you make it?” of us. There from the setting of the table to the clearing of the plates – and every moment in between. Love is alive and well - reaching across and around and over our tables. Day-after-day, meal-after-meal when we find ourselves sitting at table with one another, and I believe, more often than not that love is there among us.
Some of my most favorite stories heard and told happen around tables. Since before I could talk, I have been welcomed into the family – given and chose – conversation. Every now and then there are poignant and important conversations around tables. Every now and then there have been difficult and nearly impossible conversations around tables. Every now and then. But mostly, it’s just life shared. “How was your day?” “What did you learn?” The things that keep us rooted and grounded happen around this amazing, simple, and sacred space.
Especially at the holidays I am mindful that time is different at the gathering tables. Even in the midst of the here and now, conversations from the past echo. And there, prayers for what will be are often birthed. Some (not all, but some) conversations are heard by ancestors. I can’t begin to tell you how many times, we’ve been eating a meal and one of the boys will be telling some story. And while I’m listening, I wonder what Mom or Dad would be saying as they, too listen-in. It’s holy. It’s welcome. It’s love.
In these Advent days you might have already shared a table or two when time felt different somehow. It happens. I believe it happens more than we know, we just sometimes are too distracted or too tired to pay attention. In these coming days, gather-in your spirits and gather-close to those you love. It might be a phone conversation. Two different zip codes (when creative and committed) can share a table - just takes a little intention and imagination. These are precious days, friends. These middle-days-of -December 2018, will never come again. And it’s up to us to be mindful, thoughtful. It’s up to us to be attentive to all the expected and unexpected meanings that these table-moments hold.
This picture at the top of this page is of me and Sister Margaret, my Spiritual Director. We were reaching out to one another and holding hands at Evans Fine Foods. [I am forever grateful to Martha G for catching us in this moment]. For more than 10 years Margaret and I met most every Tuesday morning to have pancakes and play cribbage. This was our place to meet and speak of holding on and letting go. We would talk about prayer. We would talk about family. We would talk about church and call. We would laugh and often cry. She held me and my story in ways that are hard to find words that can fully describe all that it has meant to me. What I know to be true is that when she would sit and listen and sometimes even reach out across the table – I felt love.
So, pay attention, friends to all the tables in your lives. Try not to miss them. When we gather around the table and reach across with our words and with our hearts, we are most certainly entertaining angels unaware.