ode to the table

i’ve always known that i’m deeply relational. i crave connection, opening up our hearts and baring our souls, and typically, that happens for me around the table. there’s something about sharing a meal with others that binds you together. the table somehow becomes holy ground, and it’s all i can do to not gulp deep of that sacred air and take off my sandals and bend myself low. people talk at the table, not just formalities and niceties but real, honest, open conversation about how we’re doing, really, and all the things we’ve been too afraid to speak aloud. these; these are the things of substance, of weight, of glory–these are the things that matter.

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Photo by Tim Samoff on Flickr; Creative Commons

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these days i’m thinking purposefully about the hard things, the questions that don’t have easy answers, spending a lot of time in the gray areas. i don’t want to debate, don’t have time to argue. i’m not interested in keeping score, in who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s in and who’s out. i just want to sit with brothers and sisters at the table, to look past our differences and revel in our common ground, for all of us to forgive one another our flaws and embrace who we are in this, the in-between, the not-yet. our stories are still being written; let’s simply celebrate this chapter, shall we?

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lately, i find myself frequently in the thin places. life, seasons, everything–it’s all changing, and i feel wildly unprepared. when i strip away the layers and stare truth in its face, i guess it all comes down to the fact that i’m afraid. afraid of giving up control. afraid of the unknown. afraid of loss, of coming up empty-handed. and i’ve been trying to keep it all inside but then i can’t keep myself from unraveling; and the tears and the stress and the feelings, they all just spill out everywhere. it feels messy; *i* feel messy. and yet:: i consistently am gifted with people who look past the mess and invite me to sit at their table. and there, at the table, i find i can simply be. i can cry and spill and ask the hard questions, without parameters, without rules and regulations:: just me, being who and where i am in this moment, for really, when it comes down to it, this is the only moment that matters.

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i dream of sitting at a table in the wilderness, with the misfits, with the messy, with those of us who have wild hearts and dirty hands. when i close my eyes, i can see it:: all of us, welcomed, seated ‘round a slab of unfinished wood, faces squinting in the sunlight, holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes and getting glimpses of on earth as it is in heaven.

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“i want you to love with wild and gorgeous abandon, throwing yourself into each day, telling the truth about who you are and who you are not, writing a love song to the world itself and to the God who made every inch of it.

we don’t come to the table to fight or defend. we don’t come to prove or 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 great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. 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…

the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel. if the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.


come to the table.”

(quoted from bread and wine by shauna niequist, emphasis mine)

your words mean more to me when i get to see you speak them

attention, people of the internet; let’s do REALTALK for a moment or two here, okay? pour yourself a drink, settle in for a little bit, and stay with me here. i may not know much about some things, but i’ve learned a lot about knowing people, and something tells me i’m not the only one who’s been feeling this way lately.
i’m weary, y’all. weary of these false connections forged over computers, of the tapping of fingers on a keyboard, of likes + comments + notifications, of reading between the lines and flickering phone screens.

i want more. i want relationships again. i want heart-and-soul connection, ones that are tangible, ones with skin on; i want what’s deep and real and rich and true. i want to memorize the way your hands cradle a cup of hot coffee or the way your lips curve as you spill out your stories and life-lessons in a torrent of emotion and weighty words. i want to see the fire in your eyes, to encounter the God that lives in you. i want your laughter, your tears; i want to create a safe space for you in which we can talk and share and feel and be changed, somehow. i want to hear your heart in full sentences and honest conversation, in inflection and the way we sometimes stumble over the words. i want to listen and be listened to; i want you to walk away and know you were heard. i want us to understand that time is valuable, but so is relationship; and i want us, like Mary, to choose the better thing that it may not be taken from us. i’m so sick of fraudulent emoticons that try and make themselves a substitute for emotional expression, and i’m tired of computer screens and vague facebook posts, of mass emails and group texts and trying to update those who actually care about your life in 140-characters or less. puh-lease. ain’t nobody got time for that, and life is just too. dang. short.

what happened to being a person and not a user name?
what happened to seeking as much as we’re saying, to listening as much as we’re answering?
what happened?

somewhere along the way, i think we got a little lost, or the lines got a bit crossed, and we forgot that there are real, live, actual people on the other side of that screen; people with voices and feelings and stories and struggles, people who want to know and be known and be loved for it anyway.
Image                                            [Photo by Rachael Shapiro, Creative Commons]

the irony of me typing up this blog post on my macbook while i sit solo in a coffee shop filled with people is not lost on me, and i’m the first to admit that technology and online-living in this modern age can be an incredible communication tool. as someone who has many long-distance friendships, sites like facebook and twitter allow me to stay connected, in a way, even to those who are so far from me. and i’m sure many of you can relate.

but even so, there are still times when we need to take a few steps back and get outside in the sunshine, to breathe deep and breathe heavy, to fill our space and time and senses with those who are right-here and right-now, who need us and ache to connect just as we do. we’re all in this thing together, after all, each of us stumbling our way through this crazy-beautiful, messy-glorious thing we call life.

so do yourself a favor and shut down for a little while–shut down and shut off. unplug and reach out. say what you want to say, but say it face-to-face. seek ways to create community, intentionally, through honesty and emotion and one heart to another. catch up over coffee and not a computer screen. be a person, a person who loves people, and watch as you set the world on fire.

a new normal: a SWL post

hi, lovelies! i just wanted to let you know that i have a brand new post up on the So Worth Loving blog + i’d love for you to give it a read. an excerpt from my post is below, and you can read it in its entirety on the So Worth Loving site. thanks, guys! xo

I’d sit alone in my quiet bedroom, staring at the ceiling, trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with me. I felt too much, and I felt it all at once. Too emotional, too sad, too scared, too anxious. It felt like I was going crazy, like I was losing control of my emotions and my mind. I had wanted to come home and find myself again, to resume my normal life, but suddenly I had no idea what normal even was anymore.