With all the sales and the Pinterest pins, and thinking about Christmas gifts, I’m getting hungry for more and more. Cognac wedge booties! Le Creuset dutch oven for entertaining! Anything from Madewell! Collectable books for me! And for the kids! See? So much grasping and wanting and thinking that, “If I just had x… then, it’d all fall into place.”
And I think that’s part of the hangup about living life around the table. If you’re anything like me, you want it to be perfect. No dust bunnies, no sticky mess under the dining table, pretty candles and burlap and chalkboards and fall foliage. But the reality is that our lives aren’t nearly as pristine or tidy. Just this morning as my baby was crawling around the floor and eating spilled Cheerios off of it, I realized how incredibly dirty they were and that she was eating off of it. And you know what? I didn’t even care that much. (I have a bevy of excuses at the ready: “it helps her immune system!” “who has time to scrub floors with 4 kids and when they’re dirty .5 seconds later?”). The point is that my home normally has dirty floors and a pile of stuff to put away on the kitchen table. That’s just life here.
So what does it look like for me to welcome others, to live life alongside each other? It means freedom. Sometimes that means that I clean up the house and mop the floors even when no one says thank you because I know it brings peace. Sometimes it means that I welcome friends in no matter the mess, because they might need to know that “Yep, she’s got a messy house, too.” Sometimes it means that I enlist my kids or do it myself to get a moment’s peace, because I might want to see a task completed and accomplished.
It is “for freedom that Christ has set us free” and although there’s a whole bunch of theological stuff there in that verse, I like to think that even in my dailyness, in all its mundane glory, that I have freedom to breathe and welcome people in. Being free means not being enslaved by the tablescapes on Pinterest and feeling that you don’t measure up. Being free means you can buy frozen food or takeout and still have people over to enjoy it with you. Being free means that you can choose to serve your family by getting down on our hands and knees and scrubbing the kitchen floor. Being free means you can live a transparent life, both as you ladle up bowls of steaming soup and break crusty bread and as you go about your business. Because it’s not about you anyway. Or about the dust bunnies or dirty floor. It’s about people coming together to share life in big, vulnerable ways that happens slowly, day-by-day and plate-by-plate.
This month I’m writing on life Around the Table. I hope you’ll join me, cook with me, and invite others in to your real and virtual spaces.