Have you ever thought about your dining (or family) table? For some people it is a quintessential piece of furniture in the home. It is the centerpiece in the dining room, the object that draws the room together or helps make it whole.
If you are like us though, the dining-room table is much more than just a place to eat.
Currently, our table is also a desk for my wife’s school books.
It is also a big shelf that is holding both my daughters’ Tae Kwon Do equipment.
Sometimes it also reveals itself to be a medicine cabinet or even a craft table.
At other moments, it transforms into a vanity for my wife and daughters.
Maybe your table is like ours, a haphazard collection of your life laid in piles that only you understand.
Sometimes I feel bad for my table; is this how my table expected its life to be? Did my table just want to be a junk drawer for my life, a catch-all for things that I have nowhere else to put? Or, did my table have grander dreams? Dreams of holding up steaming plates of roast and mashed potatoes with apple pie and sweet tea. Did it envision people sitting around it, laughing and talking and solving the world’s problems? If those were its dreams, sadly, that is not the life into which my table was adopted.
I know that for many the thought of sitting around a table with family and eating a meal seems foreign. Life is busy; I get it.
Between my work, my wife’s classes and homework, church, and my daughters’ after-school activities, it has been a while since we sat down at the table and ate. Like many other people, more of our meals are in the living room, sitting on the couches, watching TV, and rushing to get done because the girls have to go to bed and we have more stuff to do before we turn in for the night.
However, those times when we can steal a few moments from the busyness to sit and be present with one another always leave us craving more. It is interesting that a table can do that. It is almost magical in that sense. Almost like it was made for that.
The country music group The Zac Brown Band has a song titled Family Table. The opening lyrics go:
It’s just an old piece of wood
On top of four legs
It’s got a few coffee stains
And a thousand marks from God knows when
Ain’t too many things that could stand the test of time
But this family table’s held together
By a love that never dies.
I think a dining-room table is more than a mere piece of equipment to hold a room together. I think in many cases it holds families and friends together. It is where news is shared and celebrations happen. It has been known to collect tears from those who are grieving and those who are joyful. Maybe your table holds scars from some past events.
I end with more words from The Zac Brown Band:
‘Cause we got room for everyone
Let’s make some memories ’round this nine-foot-five
Pull up a chair and stay awhile
At the family table
Think again of your table and know that it is aching to do what it was created to do … to cast its spell upon you, your family, and everyone else you know. Invite them in, sit down and watch the magic happen.