Friends Around the Table

by jessicaturner on June 28, 2013

Last Saturday was Adeline’s birthday party (did you see some of the photos of it on Instagram?). I spent probably about 50 (!!) hours preparing for that party, and in less than two, most of her friends had played, eaten cake and left. It was a fun, joyful, magical party.

However, one of the happiest moments of the party was after almost everyone had left. Our few closest friends stayed for a couple more hours, just sitting around our new patio table from Sam’s Club. And having them there, all around the table, made my heart want to burst.

It was one of those Nashville summer days that was warm, but not too warm, especially in the shade. (Thankfully, the day before the party I went to Sam’s and bought a matching umbrella (on clearance!) for the set.) Everyone was comfortable, rocking in the padded seats, enjoying cold lemonade and one another’s company.

The kids colored nearby with sidewalk chalk on the deck, while the adults talked about life.

We laughed and got serious. It was comfortable and beautiful.

The night before the party, Matthew was sweeping branches off our lower deck. I walked out on the deck above him and with tears in my eyes shared how excited I was for the party. Because, you see, we bought our house in huge part because of the deck. We knew we would have many fabulous parties on that deck. And Adeline’s Sesame Street party was the first one.

I was overwhelmed with emotion that God blessed our family with this home.

And after the party, I was overwhelmed by the community around our table. These families are knit with ours. The women spent hours helping me prepare for the party. They encourage. Our kids love one another.

In Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine she talks about the table.

I want you to invest wholly and deeply in friendship, God’s greatest evidence of himself here on earth. More than anything, I want you to come to the table… the table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for… if the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health. Come to the table.

Those moments after the party exemplified this so well for me. The community around that table was beautiful. And when they left, my heart was full, though the table was empty.

Do you ever have company over and pause over the beauty of life around the table? Share your stories in the comments.

This is the second in a series of posts about the patio table sent to me for review by Sam’s Club. All thoughts and love for it are my own. Read part one here.



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth Schwenk June 28, 2013 at 7:00 am

I love your story Jessica! We just moved into a home we adore and have already had many people over. I too have paused many times to thank God for such a beautiful home and for such beautiful people to fill it with. (Love that table by the way! :))

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Molly Gold June 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

There truly is no substitute for the beautiful presence of friends and family gathered around the table together with no timeframe, no agenda, no where else in the world to be but right there at home in the moment. Outdoor entertaining begs for a table that gathers and a patio or deck to invite you in. Love this for you =)

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jennifer {studiojru} June 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

such a sweet story! i love when we gather around the table… relaxing and talking. and those chairs?! love them!!!

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Rebecca June 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Those are truly the sweetest moments. Not only a blessing to have friends to share moments with but being able to share our blessings with others. BTW – I LOVE that table and those chairs. I’ll have to put both on our list.

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Meghan June 28, 2013 at 10:28 pm

What a blessing this was to read. Reminds me of all the laughs we have around our table with friends and family.

I’m LOVING that outdoor set.

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Erin @ Home with the Boys June 29, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Just beautiful, Jess. We bought our house in part because of the backyard gathering space as well, but it doesn’t matter whether it is at McDonald’s or a gorgeous outdoor table – fellowship around a table just has extra special meaning. And those friendships are priceless!

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Jo-Lynne Shane {Musings of a Housewife} June 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm

You nailed it. It’s not about the stuff, it’s about the community and camaraderie that the stuff facilitates. We waited 6 years and finally put a deck on our house last summer. It is such a blessing. Yes, it’s beautiful and we love it, but it is the fact that now we can entertain our friends and make memories in that space that make it so worth it. :-)

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Glamamom June 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

That table is gorgeous! Hope you have many more magical gatherings this summer.

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