I must admit that I have an ugly dining room table. It was given to us by an older woman in the church we were attending who was moving. It is from the 50's. It looked beautiful for a while. But we are a busy family who apparently knows how to damage furniture. We scuffed the top and left water marks. Soon enough the wood absorbed moisture and the surface became bubbled. It is wretched looking.
But, I cannot tell you how much I love this table. When I think of all the meals we have had here. There have been romantic, candle-lit, Valentine dinners for five. There have been meals with people we did not really know. There have been large, laughter filled Miller family gatherings and Mizel-from-California celebrations. We have cried with friends at this table. We have had angry conversations at this table. It has seen joy and sorrow. It has seen love and even a little hate. It has seen newly married couples and on-the-way-to-divorce couples. It has seen lots of teenager parties and groups of boys eating home-made french fries and milkshakes for birthdays. It has heard dreams of future love and anguish of dashed hopes. It has heard prayers of thankfulness to God and cries to Him for mercy. It has seen some come to a new faith in Christ.
It has been a tent. It has been a homework desk. It has been a work bench. It has been a nurse's station. It has been a pastor's conference table. It has been a painter's easel. It has been a gardening bench.
This well used table has seen some of the best food on the planet. My mother has served her famous food from it. (Italian Cream Cake or Red Velvet Cake or home-made salsa or Fonya Potatoes). We have eaten freshly picked corn from the garden or just-delivered-from-Kentucky burgoo and mutton. Mmmmmmm. It has held some of my very own food disasters, as well. But each dish has been served with love.
The purpose of my table's life is community. In a sense, it is at the heart of our home. We have lived and loved and mourned and celebrated with family and friends and neighbors on its ugly surface. It has been used by our family and community for over ten years. We have bought new chairs and new table cloths. But somehow, I just can't see parting with it and all of it's beautiful memories.
Looking back I can see that this is handed down from my parents. Their table has very much served the same purpose and I am grateful for all the times that I have sat there and been loved and fed. I also saw my mother's mother do the same. My grandmother had a huge table in her kitchen that served many meals to many people. I look forward to some day sitting at the tables of my children. Sharing meals together has been a gift passed down from generation to generation. Sharing meals is sharing life.
Here's to hoping that your table has its own beautiful stories to share. Enjoy!