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This Table

April 8, 2006

This blog and the group one on where’s me breakfast? emerged from monthly breakfast events at our house. I found myself sitting at the table and remembering all those who have sat round it over the years and whose company has blessed me. The following captures some of my thoughts.

“This table. It was one of the first purchases my wife and I made as a married couple. Before we had even purchased chairs to sit on in fact. And since that purchase hundreds, maybe even thousands, have sat and eaten or drank, or just talked or played round it.

Some friends and family are familiar visitors, and the familiarity has bred long hours of conversation. At other times, it has been decked in all its finery to make an impression on some special visitor. Then the settings and food are chosen specially and hosts wait nervously till people relax, maybe with a glass or two of wine. And then, even if the cheesecake gets stuck in the baking tin, who cares?

For years we have guarded the table carefully, polishing it after each use, examining its grain and grooves, noticing each nick or graze. But just recently it acquired some serious scratches courtesy of the youngest child of some good friends. It made us wonder. Medals of success or scars of battle? The former I think. Because though we love our table, it is but a means to an end. A tool.

Two people have laughed so uproariously, and thrown their whole body back so violently that they have broken chairs. Only one of which has been fixed, the second has lain in our kitchen for years now, a victim of procrastination. The carpet in the room is more worn under the table than anywhere else. Testimony to the countless feet which have shuffled about there. Elbows have rested so frequently in parts that the sheen is worn and no amount of energetic buffing will restore it. But it is doing what it was meant to do, and marks collected in such pursuit are gallant.

Each meal provides a mini-Sabbath; the opportunity to linger over food and drink and waste time in relationships. Mostly these openings occur round the times of the Church calendar. At Easter and Christmas it seems friends are more up for simply sitting round a table. Even on those times when we have a warming fire blazing in the living room we have all opted to stay at the table.

Most recent addition to our table, is a prayer cube, a gift from a student. It sits in the middle with a selection of table graces. One says,

O Lord Jesus,
Bless our home and bless our meal
Give us strength to share everything
With those who are in need.

Even now, as I sit here quietly in this room, the table covered with a white cloth, the laptop’s power cord snaking past my right hand to the socket behind me and with the sound of family life drifting from elsewhere in the house I am thankful. Thankful for this table. For all the friends and family who have rested awhile here, some now gone. Each face and voice remembered and all those lost to the past.”

From → Reflection

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