These beautiful images are the kind that come to mind when I think about the family table.
Whether paintings and artworks or photographs of times past, pictures that show the life that a kitchen table brings to it- seemingly attracting everyone to it to sit around it together and doing much more than eating; getting away from the world and just being close and at home- and the smiles around it, hold a place in my heart. They are the images that I may visually see or that just come to mind that fall into being one of those things that makes me appreciate the simple gift of what something as simple as a kitchen table, or even a picnic table, really means.
Recently, I came across a Southern cook and lovely lady who has just authored a cookbook with Southern Living magazine. I first found her through finding out about her cookbook. It was featured on QVC one day and she was there to talk about it and share about her love for Southern cooking and her roots. Her name is Rebecca Lang. For me, she just had this charm and electric joy within her that made me want to watch her and listen to her as she spoke about baked macaroni and cheese, grits, and how her cookbook was a product of her love for the food she grew up on and what it meant to her. She had a sweet Southern twang and the kindest smile ever and talked all about her upbringing and her family with the most ladylike and delightful demeanor. I decided to look her up, mostly because in only five minutes of watching her I got the feeling of inspiration from her of who I knew I wanted to be like when I am that age someday. From there, I was delighted to find she had a blog and immediately followed. I have so enjoyed her lovely posts ever since. One in particular, though, recently caught my eye and got to the part of my heart that is held strong to my roots in family and the sentimentality of life.
I thought I would share it here because it is too beautifully written not to. Have you ever read or seen something that made you stop and think, "This is what life is all about"? Reading this was one of those rare and precious moments for me. This is one of the most meaningful pieces of writing I have ever read... these words speak to me and bring me straight to the nostalgic moments of the past- like where I have been when I got good or bad news- and the moments that await me in the future.
The essay written by Rebecca Lang:
My Southern Table
"Being welcomed at the table is nothing short of receiving a special gift. It’s a package filled with soothing assurance that you are not alone. It is not simply a piece of furniture made to support a plate and a glass; it is furniture that serves its owners in countless and amazing ways.
Like so many others, my home is not determined by an address; my home is where those I love gather around the table. The location and the table aren’t always the same, but those that surround it are always family. In times of great celebration, quite reflection or deep loss, the table is forever in the center.
Much of my life has been marked by unforgettable moments around the table. It was at the table where I tasted my very first tomato sandwich. I ate breakfast at the table while watching the Challenger liftoff and disintegrate into the sky. Years later I slipped my left hand across the shiny oak top to show my grandmother my engagement ring. In that exact same place at the table, my place, I was overcome by the sea of endless food delivered when she passed away. We gathered our parents around the table on a frigid January evening to share the news that their first grandbaby was on the way.
While sitting down to a bushel of roasted oysters, I was ecstatic to tell my family I was writing my long-awaited third book. I swaddled our brand new baby girl in a bright pink basket on our table the first day we came home from the hospital. We added leaves and pulled up chairs for the biggest brunch I could cook after each of our children was baptized. Hours after the death of my father-in-law, I sat alone at our table in the middle of the night and cried until no more tears would come. While sitting on his tiny knees at the table, my son said the blessing all by himself for the first time.
It is at the table where I have grown-up, loved, laughed, prayed, celebrated and experienced so many of the defining moments in my life. This long relationship does not make me unique. Most Southerners could tell a very similar story about the table where they sit to dine each day. The Southern table does not just fill a room or a corner; it fills our very lives and enriches our souls."
I love how she talked about how the table may not even be your own table, but someplace else, where memorable moments in your life have taken place. But at your table, maybe that was where you remember learning to bake your very first batch of cookies, or where your baby sat for their first meal in a high chair, or where you had a cherished heart to heart talk with someone who has since passed away.
This makes me think about the preciousness of life, of each season of life, of every gift from above but also every sorrow, about how no matter what, we are all connected to those we love by those moments and by the places we have spent them and will spend them. Such a deeper feel this gives for the way that each of us has and will always find ourselves best at the place that we belong.
What does the table (or any place that is your "table") mean to you? :)
Wishing you blessings and beautiful day!
(source of all images: Pinterest)