There’s a fire in the kitchen fireplace and candles are still flickering, empty wine glasses wait to be washed and crumbs are on the wooden countertop – evidence of hastily bagged leftovers I urged friends to take as they wrestled into coats and boots to head home after our dinner together.
It’s 9:15 and John’s not home yet, and the snow is piled high outside my window. The serving platters are empty, but I am full.
Here’s what I did. Remember my little group of women than God totally orchestrated and drew together around what we thought would be a book study and then it ended up being about so, so much more? A young single, a personal trainer/professional cheerleader, a stay-at-home mom, a social worker, a pre-school teacher…But “titles” are deceiving! Well, that’s the group that came over for dinner on a Wednesday night recently. Shauna’s new book, Bread and Wine was our excuse for gathering.
Heather, who’s newly engaged and also a fan of Shauna’s writing, made the Bacon Wrapped Dates and the Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Butter Toffee, and I made the the Green Well Salad, and Risotto because I never had and we have one gluten-free gal and I knew everyone would forgive me if it didn’t turn out.
Before the evening arrived I asked my friends to think about a question from Shauna’s chapter, “Enough” – Have you ever longed for something? What helped you through that season of longing? What are things that prompt discontent in you?”
We all (except maybe Heather) loved the bacon wrapped dates, and those who are Risotto vets kindly said I did it “right”. We over-dressed the salad, and never got around to talking about the specific question I had thrown out, but none of that really matters, like what you watched on T.V. last night doesn’t really matter.
What matters is how we hugged and laughed and said what’s important. We oohed and ahhed over Heather’s new engagement details. We celebrated with Molly who was leaving the next day to visit her daughter who’s studying in Italy, and we looked into the eyes of another asking about the Hard Thing.
What do you long for?
We never asked that question, but we answered it with our hearts and eyes and ears all night.
Isn’t “community” one of the answers we’d all give? I love the way Shauna writes of this:
“We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity…The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children…Come to the table.”
This coming to the table takes courage, but like our little band of intrepid women and our couples’ covenant group, and the families we’ve done life with over the past 25 years have discovered, it is the place where God serves up true soul food and your longings are met in Him and through His people.
Come to the table indeed.