A table of ordinary.
Honey crisp apples. Day old rolls. A bottle of wine. A savory Thai stir fry, diced and tossed together in a crowded kitchen amidst laughter, confessions, searching eyes and tender sprouts of connection.
This is seminary…where the table and the crowd may differ from gathering to gathering, but the invitation remains consistent: bring your self and something from your cupboard.
Scattered, slapdash parts offered for the sacramental whole.
The church potlucks of our childhood seem to have grown millennial legs as we welcome one another round our tables.
The first time I found myself showing up to dinner with something random from my fridge, self-consciousness weighed down my hands. I glanced at the salad tucked into the crook of my arm, leaves a little bit wilted, avocado a little passed ripe. With reticence I set the dish down near some parsnip fries, not far from some coconut cashews…which I didn’t realize were actually a thing. Turns out they’re pretty ok.
It was all a bit odd, but dinner that night worked.
All of us belonged there.
All of us were filled by one another’s sundry vegetables, left overs, and extras.
Time’s passed and I’ve seen the tradition work over and over again. We’ve served one another our ordinary. And it has been enough.
There’s a special kind of love born when I realize my ordinary is enough for you, and your ordinary is precisely what I need.
It’s a love we cannot know in competency or performance.
In that, it’s love that is true.
Love, like honest wilted lettuce, stands free of affectation. And I, like coconut cashews, am pretty sure if I stay sweet that people will like me more. When truthfully, my normal saltiness is always the favorite. Because it's what's real.
Some days, I’m just afraid of what I offer. Some days, I am more afraid of what I need.
But if we can bring salads passed their prime to one another…I wonder if we can risk bringing some other things too—the bite of dreams turned bitter, the over-zested convictions of self-righteousness, a sickly-thickened serving of depression, or a delicately frosted taste of hope.
Not because those things need be fixed, or should be pastorally devoured until gone. But because they are our ordinary. And love invites us to share with one another, free of fear. Perhaps all our ordinary can sit at a table together and belong.
Together in the ordinary can feel exposing.
But that, I think, is where love lives.