Have you ever met someone who understands so deeply what you hold most dear that you just know you would be best friends? This is the feeling I have right now. To have another human creature validate and also value what means the world to you is warming to the very soul. To borrow from Anne Shirley, I have found a kindred spirit. Shauna Niequist wrote a book called Bread and Wine where she talks about life around the table. Shauna is not the first author to focus in on the importance of having the ones you love around your table. But she is one of the most poetic.
“I’m not talking about cooking as performance, or entertaining as complicated choreography of competition and showing off. I’m talking about feeding someone with honesty and intimacy and love, about making your home a place where people are fiercely protected, even if just for a few hours, from the crush and cruelty of the day.”'
This was my first year where I truly lived out on my own. This was also the first year that I could start to have people in my home as I wished. My dream, and hopefully reality, was that I could make my house a safe haven for my friends. I wanted them to feel entirely welcomed and loved when they walked through those doors, for their shoulders to relax as burdens fell away, and smiles to spread as stomachs were filled.
Life around the table brings a unique opportunity to be present in one another’s lives. There is something to be said for hands being full and hearts being unencumbered. Passing dishes and sharing stories—that is life around the table. An added element for me is cooking the food. It gives me an opportunity to pour extra time, love, and prayer into the preparation for those meals. I have found in my limited experience that nothing transforms relationships quite like welcoming people into your home for a meal. It conveys a deep care for those that come because to welcome someone into your house is to welcome them into your life. To read Shauna’s take on the same concept has been like finding a soul that is a twin to mine. Her most succinct advice comes from the front jacket “Tell someone you love them and dinner is at 6.”