Come to the Table

Who knew what a gift it could be to sort out the basement??? (Okay, Marie Kondo apparently did!)

We’ve already delivered a car load of donations to Second Life Thrift Store, near Atlanta, where the proceeds go to benefit animal rescue organizations and spay/neuter programs.

Another big box has gone to a neighborhood family who support a literacy program for children of immigrant families, with more on the way.

Some of the stuff above is on its way to the Mission Haven clothes closet at Columbia Theological Seminary just down the road, and there are more clothes to pack up. (Dave and I wore Mission Haven clothes back in the day!) And the boxes of fabric for kids’ quilts are looking for a home.

A couple of hours ago, I got a surprise. Well, two surprises.

First, a cardboard box Bill brought up from the basement was correctly (!!!) labeled Cookbooks. Not generally things I send to the basement.

Then, I found this particular church cookbook:

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Talk about memory lane!

Back in 1999, when I was editor of Monday Morning magazine, I wrote an editorial titled Come to the Table, which found its way to the chair of the cookbook committee who asked for permission to reprint my words…

Some folks collect coins or stamps or baseballs or shoes. I’ve got a thing for tables. I painted a table not long ago. It has wild colors and quotes from many of my favorite folks all over it. It sits in the room where I write and pray and ponder. The coffee table in our living room is an antique claw-footed bathtub with a quilt draped in it and a piece of glass on top.

My very favorite table, though, is one I don’t own. In fact, this “table” is actually a huge hunk of granite that sits deep in the catacombs of a Catholic church in Hungary. I “met” this table in the late ’80’s,  just before the Berlin Wall fell. I was traveling with a group from Columbia Seminary. An English-speaking priest gave us a tour, taking us down flight after flight of steep stone stairs. It was cold, dark, and unfamiliar.

Finally we gathered in a tiny room where the priest explained that the Eucharist had been celebrated there, on that “table,” every day for 1,500 years. Every day! It didn’t matter who occupied Hungary at the time, or what they called the nation. It didn’t matter whether religion was illegal or merely ignored. Still folks came to claim power beyond that which seemed to rule their world.

I just had to touch that table. It should have been rough and cold, but, instead, it was warm and polished by all the countless hands that had lifted bread from it and poured wine over it. Every day. For 1,500 years.

Now, I know that many of you have different traditions, and today is perhaps an ironic day to be reflecting on this, at least in the USA, but I am reminded again of the power of the table throughout the world.

And, especially at this time of year, so many of us are pondering what to put on our tables for family celebrations. It seems to have gotten more complicated lately! In fact, I wrote a book about feeding the families we have, who often don’t eat the same things as we do.

The book is packed with recipes I inherited or developed or learned from dear ones. Lots of them are pretty fabulous! The part that still feels most important to me, though, is the discussion on holiday meal planning which begins, as so many things in my world do, with a question.

What are you trying to accomplish???

I come from a family of foodies. These days, when our family gathers, we have a collection of omnivores, pescatarians, some gluten free folks, others with allergies, and a much loved diabetic who’s doing way better lately. And that’s just six of us! There are also the studio angels, who have definite opinions about these things.

My answer to what we are trying to accomplish is that everybody feels included and nobody is eating things they feel badly about because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”.

It’s a lot like Intentional Creativity®!!!

Just between us, I have no idea how that will translate into food this year. I’m oddly okay with that. And grateful for our nearby International Farmers Market where darn near anything is possible.

I’m pretty sure, though, that really good dark chocolate will be involved! And, possibly, collard greens.

What about you???

 

 

2 comments on “Come to the Table”

  1. What a lovely piece, Sue.
    One of the clearest messages I ever got from the Great Mother (and this was about my teaching practice) was “You set the table. And I will feed them.”
    I’m reminded of that today, as I endeavor to start a formal IC group in Tucson.
    Thank you for your wonderful thoughts.

    1. Thank you, Dear Valerie. Tugging for you and your group and for all those you’ll touch setting that table!!!

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Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher

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