i’ve been away from home for several years now. i’m pretty much on the twice a year rotation for visits. so it shouldn’t shock anyone that life kind of moves on without me for the fifty weeks that i am not around. parties are had, birthdays are celebrated and grandpa grills burgers just because. it never fails that whenever the time rolls around for me to come home i’ll be on the phone with my grandma and she’ll be talking about an upcoming event, one i’ll actually be around for. so i’ll say, “don’t forget – i’m coming home.” it’s my implied “save a place for me.”
i don’t have to say it. there’s always a place for me. there’s always room at the table. and lord knows there is always plenty of food.
i’ve been invited to sit around many tables in my life. from an early age i’ve always found myself in adopted families or with incredible groups of friends. young life. college. the world race. and now, georgia. in this past season i’ve found myself a table to sit at. i’ve been invited into something unique and special and sweet. it’s been laced with tears and disappointments but it’s a table i’ve laughed at, screamed at, apologized and grew up at. it’s one in which i’ve found myself celebrating, grieving, wishing, wondering, and praying. i’ve been blessed, challenged, and sent out around this table. i’ve dined with fancy napkins and plastic cups alike. people have come in and out for different reasons or time, myself included. but the table of grace, community, friendship and life exists here. it’s a place i want to stay.
but i know it’s time to set my own table. it’s time to be the creator of the space that invites people in, offers rest and life and encouragement and challenge. it’s my turn to wash the napkins, dust off the china and get to work. i’ve been partaking of a table for so long that this new task can, at moments, seem overwhelming.
but then i remember my place at the table doesn’t go away because i’m eighty miles further up the road.
around this time last year i was trying to make a decision about whether or not to go overseas for another season. i was hot and sweaty running around at training camp. my mind was spinning because it was not the plan. i picked up the phone and through tears i asked for a blessing. i needed to ask “if i do this – will you save a place for me?” and through tears on the other end, i got exactly what i knew i would. i don’t need to ask this time around. partly because there is no conflict with this decision, but mostly because i know i have it without asking.
life is about to look different. it’s something i’m not entirely sure that i am ready for. but i know it’s right. so i’m packing boxes and renting trucks and soaking up every minute with these people that i can. i’m taking deep breaths and allowing my eyes to get wet. i’m talking with people who i haven’t met but are soon to become new friends. people who will come around a new table. i’m pulling out every good thing i have to offer and preparing the table that is sure to be flooded in the coming weeks and months.
get ready, south carolina. we are about to have one hell of a dinner party.