Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A New Place to Gather Together

On my front lawn, a flock of seventy six Canadian geese have already turned South for the winter.  Their loud honks resound through the double-paned glass, announcing webbed feet's return to earth for a breakfast in our hay field.

Closer to my threshold, frost kissed yellow lantana have already withered into brown death while a liberal salt shaker of leaves brightens my gravel driveway anew each morn.

The seasons, they turn ever so quickly.  

Even when I am watching the calendar like an hourglass, when I think my senses are focused, watching, alert...still, I close my eyes to summer and awaken the next dawn to the inescapable presence of autumn surrounding me.  I breathe it into my lungs, feel its dewy coolness reach deep within every exposed pore of my skin.

These are the changes I can prepare for, the ones marked in the Farmer's Almanac.  Then, there are those changes I know will come but just can't really plan for until they are upon me.  Sometimes, these are the ones that are bittersweet.

When we moved into our new home in July of 2010, my parents loaned a small table and four canary yellow 1950s era chairs, the perfect size for two year old twins, a four-year-old big brother, and this mother.

For almost two and a half years, the intimacy of daily life has revolved around that little table more than any other place in our home.

It is there that I taught my Wyatt how to read, to form his letters, to color in the lines.  It is there the children and I gathered each day to give thanks for breakfast and lunch, read the Word of God together.  We danced wild, happy, giggling circles round it, painted enough watercolor masterpieces on its surface to paper the entire room.

We lived, we loved, we gathered there.

But come August, it became obvious that our family had grown beyond what a 29" square table could accommodate.   

Now at six and four years old, the children's art projects, books, schoolwork, cups, plates, utensils--they overlapped, covered, infringed upon--we simply did not fit anymore.

This table that had long brought us together was now causing division, bickering.

And so, I began my search for what I have now learned the industry calls a "gathering table," a name, a God-incidence, that still makes me smile.

This past week, we have gathered anew around a larger rectangle, this one counter height and with more than four chairs so even our six foot tall daddy can join with us. 
Once again, the children and I pull out the paints and pencils, books and paper, working separately and together in the same space.  I have even begun to teach the twins how to read just as I did with their older brother at the smaller table in this space two years ago.

Like every change, this one, too, means letting go.  Yet, it is a choice to live in the past or to embrace the present and celebrate life, joy, and family.

We choose joy.

Images: The morning after we moved into our new home--July 6, 2010--and present day, almost 2 1/2 years later.


  1. Jennifer--we are 'neighbors' at God Bumps this morning...What a delightful post. Our son and his wife have 5 children and I know all about the search for a table that will 'work'.
    This piece made me grin from ear to ear. You are blessed!

    1. Hello neighbor! Nice to meet you. My family is the biggest blessing God has graced me with.

  2. Look at your beautiful family around that gathering place! I love it. Love your heart. And I always look forward to your contributions to the writing community.