3 Reasons Gathering around a Table Matters

A few years ago I read what has become one of my favorite quotes about motherhood,

The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit how difficult mothering is quietly to each other, over cups of tea at a sticky table with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.Anna Quindlan

It’s true, right? Those friends who’ve seen the mess in our homes and our hearts, who know our fears and failures, who’ve laughed and cried with us — not just about motherhood but about life — those are the sticky table friends. And we all need them.

when we gather around a table, something amazing happens! we build community.

3 Reasons Gathering around a Table Matters

During some seasons of life, I’ve had an abundance of those sticky table friends. But there have been other times when they’ve been hard to come by.  Sometimes I’ve found them through a shared love of Bible study and other times we’ve bonded as we sat in the lobby waiting for our girls to finish dance class. With some of them, the kinship was immediate. In other situations, the relationship sort of snuck up on me.

But here’s the thing — those relationships, individually and collectively, matter.

They’re worth pursuing and investing in. Because it’s through those sticky table relationships I’ve learned the the deeper meaning of community and hospitality.

Friendships like this take time and energy. Sometimes you’ll give more than you receive … and sometimes you’ll be given far more than you deserve.

When I look back over the sticky table friendships in my life, I realize many of them began literally at a table. Maybe it was an invitation to dinner at someone’s house or perhaps a planning committee for a school event. Sometimes it’s been a spontaneous ice cream outing or a small group Bible study.  But gathering around a table does something special. I can’t explain how or why but it seems to break down barriers we can manage to keep in place at other times.

Gathering around a table matters — and here are three reasons why.

Gathering around a table encourages conversation.

I can be awkward in social settings sometimes. Because my natural inclination is sort of “bull in a china shop,” I try to tamp that down a bit in public and the result can be me not sure how to interact for fear of being too much.  This is especially evident when I walk alone into a crowded room.  But that awkwardness fades when I’m sitting at a table, even with a group of people I don’t know. A table makes conversation easier.  I can ask a general question, “So what are everyone’s names?” or I can lean into the person next to me and begin a more personal conversation.

The simple truth is this — gathering around a table encourages conversation. And that’s how we begin to develop relationships.

Gathering around a table develops connection.

The more we sit around that table chatting, something special occurs — connection. As we swap recipes or share parenting foibles we find more in common.  When we ask those questions that move beyond the surface, we find ourselves with a desire to serve and encourage those at our tables.

In our world, where people can unfriend with a simple keystroke, the connections we build around a table are of ever-increasing value.

Gathering around a table invites community.

A few years ago my friend Kristin put a picnic table in her front yard Kristin put a picnic table in her front yard. And because she’s Kristin, she painted it turquoise and started inviting people to come sit and chat. Over the years, that table has hosted impromptu dinners, scheduled meetings, and lots of informal conversations. Kristin would say she put a table in her front yard and hoped the HOA wouldn’t kick her out. But I bet her neighbors would say she invited them to move from being an association to being a community.

When we gather around a table and engage in conversation, something happens. We learn backstory and tell jokes. We tell of hard days and share our joys. We build a shared history and that leads us beyond connection into true community.

My turquoise table is in my kitchen. It’s been the center of a lot of conversations and the place where many of those sticky table friendships found their start.  The thing is, we have to start by believing gathering around a table matters — and then inviting others to pull up a chair.

I don’t know about you but for me, this is a challenge I’m ready to accept!

How have you found community around a table?

Gathering around a table matters, here are 3 reasons why. #theturquoisetable Click To Tweet


Teri Lynne

The Turquoise Table by Kristin SchellKristin has written a book about how that painted picnic table changed her and her community.  In fact, today that book, The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard, is available! And you should get it.

Kristin has shared her heart for others, her hope for communities, and some of her fabulous recipes to help us get all started with connecting in our neighborhoods.

Get the book … and invite someone to the table! You’ll be glad you did.

You can order at Amazon or other online retailers or pick up your copy at your favorite bookstore.

{Below is my affiliate link for Amazon. If you order through it, I’ll receive a small commission which I will use to buy even more books. Thank you for your support.}

The Turquoise Table

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