Posts Tagged ‘fellowship’

Reclaimed Materials, Reclaimed Hearts

 

Are there things in your home you're not using?

My husband and I recently “reclaimed” a room in our house (whoa! I accidentally typed “hearts” instead of “house”…. hmmmmm) transforming an unused formal living room into what we refer to as the “communal dining room.”

Our vision for the room encompassed more than the dining aspect; we wanted it to be a place where a group of people could worship, have fellowship, and study God’s word; a place where we could share life. A place where we could sit down as strangers and leave as friends.

We wanted to use our new/old dining room – the more scratches and dents the better and so we opted for mostly reclaimed materials – pieces of furniture and accessories that had once served a purpose, but had become relegated to the “past it’s prime, no longer functional, out of style,” category.

If only the old pieces could tell their stories….How did the long gash on top of the farm table get there? Who decided that honey pine chair would look better with a coat of turquoise paint? What was served in that old ceramic pitcher with the crackled glace– iced tea, lemonade, well water?

This is what one corner of the finished room looks like. The "jelly cupboard" is actually the top to an antique sideboard.

 

 

 

As a former baker and owner of "The Dainty Morsel," I couldn't pass up this old cake tin – I wonder what types of cakes they kept in it?

The old Italian espresso cups were a gift from my grandmother when I was just a little girl. 

Aside from my car, I guess I have a thing for scratches and dents, bangs and bruises – I like the mellowness that comes with aging. Old things have tales to tell and I want to hear them.

My attraction to all things battered extends to people, too – I don’t wish them battered, but I realize most of us are. We need to tell our stories if we're to become useful again and where better to tell them than gathered around the table?

The Last Course:

 

One of the meanings of shared is “to take a stake in.” Have you taken a stake in someone else’s life lately? Are you willing to risk letting someone into your home, your heart, your closed-off place?

Let us break bread together

Even as a little girl, I sensed that something special takes place when people share a meal, and given my Italian and Southern Scotch-Irish heritage, our family enjoyed some amazing meals when we gathered for reunions, all of it foreign to our bland Midwest palates: spinach-stuffed ravioli and polenta on the Italian side – crab, collards and biscuits at Mom Minnie's. No wonder I was a pudgy little kid.

Those meals not only filled my tummy, they satisfied my soul with a deep sense of belonging. Imagine sitting around the table, with people speaking Italian, or listening to my larger-than life uncles tell their crazy stories of life on a shrimp boat! Laughter was the main ingredient of those hours-long meals and I remember feeling like I was part of a larger story.

It turns out I was on to something; as I've studied the ancient tradition of hospitality, I've learned something special does indeed take place when we gather together to eat. In Christian circles, we often call taking the Lord's Supper 'breaking bread.' Jesus gave his life, (became broken bread) for us so that we might have life.

Breaking bread can also refer to the common meal. Something equally mystical happens when we gather together to break bread - strangers become companions, a word whose literal meaning is "the one with whom bread is broken."  

Interestingly, the Scottish word for companion is "marrow" – the essence, the best part. It can be a simple sharing of rustic bread and rough red wine, or an extravagant seven-course feast, but the best part, the essence, is the experience of companionship.

THE LAST COURSE: The part about the marrow reminds me of a teacher friend of mine, who as the end of her summer vacation approaches, likes to say that she is "sucking the marrow out of each remaining day." She knows how to savor the riches of her life.

So the next time you gather around the table, do it with an attitude of expectancy. Slow down; take time to truly appreciate your 'daily bread' and be thankful for the very best part….each other.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM AN ITALIAN FEAST:

Roasted Italian sausages and grapes, bathed in olive oil and rosemary, accompanied by polenta and white beans with sage. The meal was molto bene, and so was the fellowship!