Life happens around the table.
Coffee cups are held close to keep hands warm, conversations shared, first bites tried, and plates pushed away as bellies say "we're full!". There are books to be read, prayers to utter, new faces to love...all around the table. From lessons on manners to highchairs and hilarious laughter, again the table is what brings it all together.
We bought our table brand new with a matching set of chairs, right before we moved into our house on the farm. I was HUGE and pregnant with Anna Ruth and wanted a big table to fill with friends, family, and kids. We searched at place after place until we found this one. I have never even dreamed of having another table. This one simply holds too many stories.
This week I did, however, give it a fresh coat of white paint. Much different than the dark brown stain it came in. As Anna Ruth first spotted the table she exclaimed "It's beautiful!" Coming from her, this is a huge compliment as she definitely knows what she likes and doesn't like. I would have to agree. The table turned out beautifully and it feels as if it's saying "thank-you" itself, every time I gaze over and see the fresh white.
Do you know that I have been debating/almost worrying over whether or not to paint this table since November? I even bought the paint and a lot of other unnecessary products after a too helpful sales person at Lowe's thought I "needed" all of it. I am smarter than that and at least had the wisdom to go return it all the next day.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when we were at the Home Depot and bought a gallon of oil-based white paint. After painting our built-ins with it I knew it was perfect for the table. It is seriously the perfect white. Not too grey or off-white. Just right.
As for all that worrying over the table? I realized how silly it is to worry over something like a table. It is just a table. All that beautiful life will still happen around the table, whether I paint it pink, red, white, or green. The color doesn't matter, but the people sure do. Why waste my time worrying over something so simple?
Yesterday Anna Ruth and I sat around the table, looking through our stack of Instax photos. I explained how pictures tell a story that words sometimes can't. She, of course, wondered what I meant. I went on to explain how our hearts, eyes, and memory work together when we see a photo, bringing all sorts of wonderful things to mind.
I decided to follow my own lesson later that night once the girls were snug in their beds and the house was quiet. As I looked back through my past photos, seeing how many different ways the table and shelves had changed, it was as if I was reading a really great story. Certain photos evoked a slow, sweet smile like this one of Betsy Grace as a baby.
Others like this scene from Betsy's party made my eyes light up, remembering all the family crammed around the table to celebrate our girl.
Photos like these remind me of the countless hours we've logged, deep conversations happening among the paints.
And of course there are always the fancy Christmas Eve tables that remind me how much our family truly enjoys instilling new traditions in our home. They create a sort of hopeful rhythm that guides our year with joy, as sure as the sun.
Often times the photos tell a story of whatever current craft phase I happened to be in, like making paper flowers or filling embroidery hoops with fabric.
No matter the state of the table or the decor on the shelves, each reminds me of several things. One, that documenting our everyday, seemingly "ordinary" lives is worth it. Worth the time, the extra effort to pick up the camera for a few seconds a day, worth the counter space to leave the camera in a spot that's easily accessible. I'm also reminded of the goodness and faithfulness of God. I'm sure I must have felt similar emotions and thoughts in each of these very different seasons of life pictured. I probably wondered about situations around me, prayed over my dreams, and tried to love my Jesus and family well. I'm sure some days felt extremely hard, others a piece of cake.
I'm sure our table tales are only just beginning. I read a quote today that struck a chord with me. It said "Make your ordinary come alive." The table seems to be the most ordinary of places, yet as record shows it is certainly one of the most alive. Let your ordinary life come alive at the table this week. Invite a new friend, leave a book out for lingering, slowly eat a tasty meal, give many, many thanks for coming alive.
See you around the table.