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Not Just Any Old Table

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog about gratitude. I wrote that I was grateful for my kitchen table.

Yes, I know that’s an unusual thing to praise and honor but I love my kitchen table.

What is it about a simple functional piece of furniture that makes me so grateful for it?

Last January, I set up a new study area in my house, trying to move away from the kitchen table, mostly because Doug wonders why, when we have plenty of space in the house, I insist on cluttering up the kitchen table.

I claimed a small, cozy, underused room in the basement as my new personal space. I even bought a nice desk that fits perfectly by the window.

I lugged my scriptures, notebooks, pens, journals, and iPad down there, positioned a comfortable chair by the desk, and felt inspired, ready to make it a sacred, productive, quiet place for me. I even put a yoga mat down there because I was sure it was going to be a meditative place.

I was excited because I could leave everything in a neatly ordered mess — books open, empty or partially filled notebook pages just eagerly waiting for my next study session, pens for writing, highlighting, and color coding, and of course, the yoga mat in case I felt inspired to slip into a contemplative savasana.

It was perfect.

Except, I didn’t want to go in there. It didn’t feel the same as my homey, familiar kitchen table.

I wondered if it was because it can get cold down in the basement. So, I put a soft blanket on the chair and remembered we had a portable heater that would warm up the room and make it feel toasty.

Still, I didn’t go down there.

I tried, I really did, but, over time, I migrated back to the kitchen, and left that basement room quiet, empty, and purposeless.

Now, here we are in 2023, and I’m back at the kitchen table where I have to clean up after myself, make room for meals, and keep it presentable, at least to some degree.

What is it about this table that feels like home to me?

Is it because this is where I’ve studied for 25 or more years? Is it because it’s where I’ve had sparks of inspiration, new ideas, and made spiritual connections?

Or is it because of the people that have surrounded this table and the marks they’ve left of humor, conversation, empathy, kindness, and love?

Is it because of the countless prayers that have been said over meals and at other times? Is it because of the family games that have been played? Or the hours of homework that were completed, the science projects that were constructed, and the clothes that were sewn or mended? (Just to be clear, it was Sara, not me, that made the clothes. That’s not one of my talents!)

Is it because that’s where my mom sat to read when she came to visit or where Doug’s parents had tea parties with our girls? Or is it because our dog, Nikki, slept on my feet while I sat there reading, writing, or working?

It’s all of these things and more.

This table, while old, and worn, has a history for me — family dinners, birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, Christmas celebrations, Sunday dinners, scrapbooks, Valentines, studying, learning, tears, giggle fits, tender and sweet moments, and big and little announcements.

Doug hasn’t asked me yet why I insist on spreading out all my projects in the center of the house when I have a perfect setup in the basement.

I can’t explain it except that it feels like home.  

Beautiful memories are embedded in the wood somehow — and scoff if you want, but this table has a spirit about it that draws me in.

It’s a symbol of my family life because so much of it has happened around this table.

It might be out of style and look like it belongs in Colonial Williamsburg, but that’s all okay with me because it makes me happy, it’s an object that has meaning to me.

As I sit at this beloved table with a candle glowing, snow falling, and dinner time approaching, it’s all good. I can close the books and notebooks, and put the caps back on the pens, power down the iPad, and stow everything in a basket or cupboard to make room for placemats, plates, cups, utensils, and food. Then, tomorrow, I’ll repurpose it again as my study zone.

And, through it all, I will be grateful for this simple table because, to me, it is a sacred space that will forever feel like home.

4 thoughts on “Not Just Any Old Table”

  1. this brought tears to my eyes because i too have a beloved kitchen table. it is solid & sturdy, it has housed us all for many many years, a few years ago i noticed words etched into the wood, not because anyone did it on purpose, it was from sitting at that very table doing homework and pressing so hard it left their words and writing for me to discovery with tears in my eyes remembering my long since adulted children had sat and laughed and studied and teased each other and eaten, and never wanted to get up after a meal because we did so much talking and loving each other there. i have considered getting a different look since it too belongs in williamsburg, but i long ago changed my mind because this is our family history, it stores all the love and connection we cherish. all the grandkids have sat at this table and poured (or etched) a piece of their soul there for us to feel and cherish as we amble on to our golden years. thanks for reminding me of these ever so simple moments of perfection that live forever in the wood of our well used kitchen table.

  2. Pretty sure I’ll be buried with mine. Wrote a bit about it years ago. I have all the same feelings. You’ve done a good job of describing it for both of us.

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