My parents moved into their dream house in 1949. I was a toddler.
As long as I can remember, they had the same kitchen table and red chairs.
There are so many memories of being at that table.
We had three meals a day at that table. My parents always “said grace” before every meal. Their grace was never just a recitation of repetitious phrases. They truly thanked God, not only for the food, but also for their many other blessings.
No matter what was happening in life, that table was a place of gratitude.
My mother was a wonderful cook. Rarely did she use a mix. Everything was made “from scratch.” And she sought to please everyone’s tastes. There was always a variety of things served on that table.
That table was my desk for doing homework. My parents often sat at that table and helped me. My mother’s specialty was English. My father’s was math.
My friends and I played board games on that table. My father and I played checkers on that table.
My mother once grabbed me out of my chair at that table. Lightening struck the stove behind me and a fire erupted. She jumped up from the table and pulled me to safety just in time.
My father was always safety conscious too. So he always made sure the back door was locked before going to bed. When he realized he was beginning to obsess about whether he had done it, he made a little sign that he put on the table to reassure all of us. I can still see his note, “DOOR LOCKED” on that table.
I also remember the sad times in 1997 when my mother was no longer there at the table. We had always had our designated places to sit. Her chair was very empty.
I remember changing from my previously designated chair to her spot, so I could reach out and touch Daddy’s hand. But we both sat there in silent grief.
After my father died in 2001, my brother and I made the difficult decision to sell the house and have an estate auction.
I had already discovered that I could not transplant furniture from that world to my present world and hope to hang on to the past that way.
Most everything went to relatives and friends or was sold. The table and chairs was headed for the auction block too. And then our daughter asked if she could have them. We agreed.
However, she was in college and had nowhere to put it. College was followed by other adventures where the table and chairs could not go.
So for the past 21 years, they have been in storage. Yesterday our daughter and son in law closed on their new house.
We got the table and chairs out of storage and delivered them to the new home. We will always remember that the table and chairs were the first furniture in their house.
I also gave them a picture of me taken when I was five years old. I was sitting at that table.
I did not expect to be emotional when the table and chairs were unwrapped. But I was.
As I carefully wiped the table, I remembered all the times I had done that from childhood into adulthood.
I remembered all the other hands that had touched that table.
Our daughter, son in law, Jay and I sat at that table and held hands while Jay and I prayed a blessing over them. I felt profoundly grateful for the memories and all the ways God led us to these moments of such joy.
Gideon was not there yet, but he will be soon. I like the thought that he will be making memories at that table with his Mom and Dad.
Yesterday, I felt Mother and Daddy were there too. And when we completed our prayer, they said, “Amen.”
In your presence, there is fullness of Joy!