Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Table

When your 87 year old grandfather comes to visit and wants to restore your dining room table, you let him.  Of course, that was his business for years.  Furniture.  And the restoring, his job on the side for years after that.  Even still.  And you bought that piece of furniture from his store all those years ago when you were engaged and dreaming about the kids that would fill that table and declaring that you would use the china on it at least once a month when your soon to be mountain man husband had argued that it wasn’t necessary.  The china, not the table.

And now, we have these children and we almost never use that china. Except for those times when I think about that declaration long ago and drag it out with an “I told you so” look in my eyes.  Our table is scarred and syrup is permanently stuck to it and the chairs have legs that were chewed by the dogs, who were once teething puppies.  Thirteen and half years of life have been carved and spilled onto that table’s cherry wood and my Dada tells me that he can’t make it look like new, but he can polish it up and ready it for the next thirteen years.  And I've always known him to be this way.  Able to see what a thing could be and then able to bring out it's beauty in surprising ways.  Never going about it in a rush, but slowing to see that every detail is attended to.  At rest as he exercises his gifts. 

I think about thirteen years.  Allow myself to dream about them and turn off the dutiful voice that tells me I may not even get tomorrow.  Today, I dream that I get all thirteen.  In thirteen years, I will have a 21 year old daughter and one who's 18 and a 15 year old that may be giving me fits.  The daddy and I will probably sit up at that table some nights, sipping hot tea, waiting for her to come home.  Twenty-six years of marriage under our belts, our eyes scratchy and red with the lack of sleep that comes from having teenage daughters. Our hands cupped around mugs whispering about the day she was three and peed in the bathroom sink and told him it was because she “loved to.”  (Yep…that was 2 nights ago.)
We’ll look, then, at the scars of that table.  The ones that my Dada was unable to rub out with the steel wool and lemon oil all those years ago, and the ones that are newer, that tell about our life, not with puppies and babies, but with growing and grown girls and teenagers in and out of our house, and days where, more and more, it’s just the two of us again at that table.  And we’ll see that this table, which once held food offered to small, sticky hands, and which had blessing spoken over it thousands of times in the past 26 years is laid with a feast fit for a King.  That this table is set with stories of grace.  The grace of feeding babies, and grown up girls, and teenagers not my own.  The grace of praying and reading the scripture at meal times.  The grace of friends and family breaking bread together. The grace of memories when tears of disappointment turned miraculously into gratitude and when hands wringing in fear turned into faith. The grace of cups of tea with this husband who lights me up inside when I look at him loving his life.  And the grace of a grandfather, whose gift of restoring, has opened up my eyes.  Cracked open what was stuck.  And finally...there are words to write again.

Linking up with Just Write....because it's about time I did!


Amy said...

Such beautiful words, Amanda. To think how fast time goes...we will have teenagers (by the grace of God) before we know it, won't we? I love the picture of all the memories our tables have/will have gathered and the gratitude for it all. I've been thinking a lot about God bringing beauty from ashes and this post makes me think again of His goodness in doing so. Today I am thankful for your words which remind me of His grace.

Allison said...

I love your writing...and I love your Dada!

The Coopers said...

Beautifully written! That same Dada did the same to my table a few years ago. He is a great man and I love how we can still learn from him.