Let’s be honest. Most of us get sucked up into the noise of this world way too easy. From the moment our alarm clock goes off at an ungodly hour, we are scrambling to keep up with the days work, chores, and social events. Not to mention, our own family. The noise and movement is constant.
What ever happened to the slower days?
Remember the slow days where it seemed the days drew on and the nights were calm? There was time to lay on a field of grass, feel the cool green blades underneath you, and make silhouettes in the sunset. There was time to gather around a table or visit outside, play games, and linger in conversation.
We’ve done that around here and I highly recommend you do that too. After a large family meal, my girls and I took blankets out to the front yard and laid there to stare at the sky. No agenda, just a longing to be in each others company. We laughed at stupid silly stuff as girls do. As we stretched our feet heavenward, we received odd looks from people driving past. Then we laughed until tears ran down our faces. We didn’t care what they were thinking, because we were enjoying this small moment in time.
I’m not sure about you, but I haven’t seen those days in awhile. And that’s awfully sad, because small moments make for big memories. I’ve been trying to slow myself, but one step outside my front door the world-of-busy sucks me right back in. The wrestling in my soul is crazy, it craves smaller moments and slower days.
A table to gather around.
Until a year and a half ago, I had not stopped to consider how the table is becoming that of a lost focus in the home. The place where we used to gather not only to eat, but for coffee, games, and laughter almost seems sacred to look back on. Everything happened around our kitchen table when I was growing up — telephone conversations (or course, not allowed while eating), dominoes, planning, homework, games of Crazy 8, and meals.
Captivated by this lost art of gathering around the table, I scraped together a free table for my backyard. I scavenged the neighborhood for old torn down pickets of fence, loaded them up in the trunk of my car in my finest of high heels I might add, as neighbors once again thought I was a loon. (Oh yes, and the husband surprised me with fabulous table legs to make it look fancy). Oh well . . .
I wasn’t distracted by their thoughts because I was on a mission — a mission to invite and gather the lonely, misfits, prodigals, those feeling lost, and those looking for a connection. Anyone was welcome.
After I hosted a few gatherings, it was obvious everyone was missing the connections that happen around a table. They were missing the small things that make a difference and create deep friendships. You see, when we barrel through life ninety-to-nothing our relationships stay wide and superficial. But what I longed for, and realized many others were too, were deep friendships. And come to find out the only way that was going to happen was by intentionally creating a space for the relationships to grow.
Church of the Small Things.
Melanie Shankle writes in her new book Church of the Small Things, which I highly recommend. You won’t be able to put this one down as she’s funny, witty, and spot on.
“Nothing is wasted when we view it through the lens of what God has for us in whatever life brings our way. It’s all a part of who we are and who he is making us to be. For some, that may be a public role on a big stage, but for the majority of us, it’s about being faithful in the small stuff: going to the grocery story, volunteering in our kid’s classroom, befriending the new girl, coaching a Little League team, showing up for work every day, being kind to our neighbors.”
It’s the truth! Nothing is wasted, not even a meal around an old wooden table. Those old scraps of wood haven’t been wasted, and neither have friendships that gathered longing for connection.
“I wonder what might happen if we could quit building walls around ourselves and let others see who we really are. To see where we are broken and where we are hurting and where we feel like we aren’t enough.” Church of the Small Things
I wonder what would happen if I invite others to the table. I wonder if it could be a place of deep belonging — a place to step out of the big world and into slower days. I truly believe that gathering around that table, which seems so foreign to our hectic lifestyles, is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It’s where superficial relationships grow deep and where real life happens.
When we slow down our lives, it is even easier to see the extraordinary in each small ordinary moment.