Make Room at the Table

“Make some room at the table.”

I have heard that expression many times throughout my 34 years of life.  Growing up we tended to always have a neighbor or friend that ate dinner with us.  My parents were extremely disciplined in making sure that the 4 of us always ate dinner at home and that it was 9 times out of 10 something homemade.  They both worked full time so this dinnertime was sacred.  Nevertheless, while they never waivered in making sure my sister and I were both present, they always left the door open for anyone else to join us, which was very often the case.

“Scoot over.  Move your chair.  Make some room at the table.”

Thankfully, this is something that Hubs and I have tried to practice too since being married.  We want friends, neighbors, family, and even strangers alike to feel welcome in our home and for there always to be extra room at the table.  Most often that “table” is the kitchen island, and we are all smashed together like sardines around it, while our very large dining room table sits empty, but we are together, we are all making room for one another around it.

I remember about a year ago, though, we had been invited to have dinner with a couple that I didn’t know so well.  They had known my husband for quite some time and had reconnected with him recently and as a result invited us over for dinner.  On the way, Hubs shared a little bit of their story and that they had, to a certain extent, been ostracized because of some decisions/mistakes (depends on who you ask) they had made in the past. 

We had a lovely dinner and time in their home, but as we drove away from their house that night, I said to my husband, “Promise me that everyone will always be welcome at our table.  Let’s right now make the commitment that no matter the circumstances or past that we will always make room at our table.”

My husband didn’t think twice before saying, “Yes. I absolutely agree.”

And that’s how it began.  This new commitment meant that we also had to mend some bridges.  We along the way had maybe shut some doors on some relationships because of disagreements or just not seeing eye to eye on lifestyles.  But, we started reaching out and starting making room at the table. 

Because we believed deep in our hearts that no matter the circumstances there is always room at the table.  We don’t have to always agree.  We don’t always have to have perfect relationships.  But, we must always make room at our table. 

I am guessing by this time everyone living in the United States at least has read or heard about the huge Women’s March that took place on Saturday.  Truthfully, I didn’t know a whole lot about it until my Facebook feed filled up with commentary regarding it.  I have a very diverse friend’s group on Facebook, so that meant that I had everything from “This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. I am embarrassed to be associated with these women!” to “Rock on!  Girl power!  Feeling proud to stand with such brave and mighty women!” to “What the heck is this Women’s March.  I have no idea what they are even marching for.”

However, as time has continued to go on, I feel like the hostility towards the 2 sides has only gotten worse.  On my Facebook feed at least, it has looked quite ugly at times.  I wanted to write a post about why I think each side has some valid points, but after some pretty ugly interactions on Facebook towards the end of last year, I decided that I am not going to engage in conversations on social media that are meant for tables, front porches, or coffee dates.  Most issues are complex and when they involve real life people with deep feelings or convictions one way or another, they are even more difficult.  So, for those that are looking for me to make a declaration one way or another, it isn’t going to happen…or it isn’t going to happen on here anyway. Invite me to your table or front porch, and that is a whole other story.

What I felt convicted to do here today, though, was just to ask…to plead actually with both sides to stop, take a deep breath, and try and see things from a little bit of a different perspective.  I feel as if we are at a time and place in history where we feel pressure to “pick a side” or “join a team.” We are pro-woman or pro-life.  We are democrat or we are republican.  We are against Trump or we are with Trump.   We are with “Black Lives Matter” or we are with “Blue Lives Matter.” 

And the list goes on.  The lines have been drawn, and we are feeling the pressure to pick a side.

I want to propose a different way. 

Make more room at the table. 

Because at the table, I believe that it is possible to care less about a side and more about the person actually sitting at the table with us, even when that means we don’t agree.  I believe that at the table we can find more of a middle ground instead of two distinct sides.  We can break bread and look each other in the eye instead of reading words behind a computer screen.

I remember when I started working in Guatemala and started really becoming exposed to the realities of what life in this country looked like for most people, I was not only brokenhearted but on some level, I think I was even disgusted by it.  Abuse was so prevalent and most especially sexual abuse.  It was not uncommon to hear of mothers selling their daughters to men for sex or father’s picking one of their daughters to be “his.” I heard of mother’s knowingly staying with men that were consistently molesting and abusing their daughters or even sons.  The stories were relentless and horrendous.  I judged these mothers so harshly.  I felt like they didn’t deserve to be mothers. 

But over time, I have come to see that the issue isn’t as black and white as I wanted to believe it was.  More times than not, these mothers are women that grew up being sexually abused themselves.  Many times they are uneducated and would be living on the streets if it weren’t for the abuser in which they are living with.  Often they are struggling with addiction because they were either exposed to or forced to participate in doing drugs or drinking at an age that they should have still been playing with dolls.  

Bottom line is I came to realize that I was judging something I had never known.  I can absolutely take a stance against sexual abuse.  I can absolutely fight against it, and I should be fighting against it!  But that doesn’t mean that I have to take a hard line against these mothers too.  I can be for the mother and also for the child.  And, in fact, I believe I SHOULD be for the mother and the child.  Because whose to say if I hadn’t grown up in a home that was filled with love and always made me feel safe, that I too wouldn’t have been involved in many of these same situations?  Whose to say that I would be parenting well my children right now if I had grown up being sexually abused daily by people who were meant to protect me and was being forced to consume things that are not good for adults let alone young children?

I want to caution us all from making hard lines against every issue or agenda or topic that has its turn in the spotlight.  Because behind every one of these issues or agendas or topics are real life people.  People that have different experiences than us.  People that have walked different paths than us.  People that have been exposed to different things than us.  People who might not be just like us.

I am not asking you to change your position.  There are many issues out there that no matter how many conversations I have, my position isn’t going to change.  But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room at my table for someone that doesn’t think just like me or believe just like me.  In fact, I would propose that more often than not, my table SHOULD include those that aren’t just like me. 

Last week, God led me to these verses again, and to be honest, they have almost haunted me since reading them.  I read them originally in the English Standard Version, but there is something so poetic about the version found in The Message that I felt for emphasis here, I wanted to use that version today.  Obviously this is not the most accurate translation, but I think there is beauty to be found in this paraphrased version as well. 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
“I don’t think, friends, that I need to deal with the question of when all this is going to happen. You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would. About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—“We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.
But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.
God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.”

Friends, if we belong to Christ, we are called to be light.  And just as the first thing I do when one my children awakes during the night and calls out for me is to bring light to them, to show them they are safe and secure, we are called to bring that kind of light into the darkness.  We are called to BE that light in the darkness.  The day of the Lord is coming.  It is coming.  Let’s not be so consumed with agendas and issues that we forget that He is coming, and we don’t want to see anyone left behind. 

Start making room at your tables.  Start building bridges instead of walls.  Start listening and stop talking.  We absolutely must maintain a posture of obedience before the Lord.  We must choose holiness and righteousness. I am not asking you to accept sin or to become willy-nilly with your beliefs and convictions.  I am just saying that we should not be afraid of the dark.  We are the light.  Our light shines the brightest in darkness.  But if we are too afraid to even go into the darkness, then our light will never really be seen. 

Make room at your table.  The day of the Lord is near. 

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews

Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP