A Table And Six Chairs
I saw the car stopped up ahead.
We were both driving on a very curvy road.
The place the car decided to stop was not the best place to pull over.
Something must be very important to make a car pull over at this spot.
A man was in the driver’s seat.
He began to get out of his car.
As I approached I could see why he pulled over.
As I approached, I could hear my mother’s voice.
Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure.
There on the grass, quite close to the road, was a table and six chairs.
It was neatly set up as if company was expected.
The chairs were placed all around the table.
If this had not been outside on a curvy road, it could have been someone’s dining room.
The way it was placed so close to the curb, I assumed the owners wanted to get rid of it.
There was no sign that said: Free.
There was no sign that said: Trash.
There was just a table and six chairs by the side of the road.
I saw the kind of car the man was driving.
Even if he thought about taking the table and chairs, they would not fit in his car.
He would have to come back for it, it he really wanted it.
The problem with curbside things is that they are usually gone by the time you get back.
I saw that there was still some life to this dining set.
I imagined that if someone refinished furniture, this set would be lovely.
Someone could make this dining set work for them.
I wondered what stories this table and six chairs could tell.
What family conversations took place there?
Was homework completed there?
Were board games played there?
Were prayers said there as the family sat around the table?
By the curb, away from the house and the family, one would never know.
How I wish the furniture could talk.
What stories could be shared.
Life happens around each piece of furniture that we so readily discard.
New and improved does not always mean better.
Often, there is a sentimental value to even the simplest thing.
There are memories attached to objects.
There are moments that have been lived and shared around a family table.
My mind thought about the lovely presentation of the table and six chairs.
What if someone came by and set up some food and pitchers of iced tea and lemonade?
What if a sign said: Welcome. Come join us!
What might happen?
Opening up our lives to others can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as painting an ordinary picnic table turquoise and placing it in your front yard. It sounds so simple, it’s ridiculous. In fact, that’s just what I thought when I painted my picnic table bright turquoise (Sherwin-Williams Nifty Turquoise, if you’re wondering) and placed it under a magnolia tree, close to the edge our lively street. That very day, life in our neighborhood and my life changed in meaningful ways. All because of The Turquoise Table. The Turquoise Table has become a meeting place—kind of like the old village well—for neighbors, friends, and even strangers, to hang out and do life together. The table has spurred a front yard revival in our neighborhood and had become a welcome place to gather and love. We call ourselves Front Yard People. As it turns out, turquoise tables are popping up all over the place – even as far away as Uganda. We’ve got an encouraging community of people—just like you—who are looking for simple ways to create community right right where they live. Wanna make a difference in your community—join us! It’s simple. It’s huge. It’s love. (http://www.kristinschell.com/the-turquoise-table/)
What a simple concept.
Put a table on your front lawn.
Paint it bright turquoise.
Watch people gather.
The table and six chairs was not painted turquoise.
The table was not even a picnic table.
However, the table seemed to beckon nonetheless.
How I wanted to see people gathered there, even on this curvy road.
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:13-18)
Hospitality is important to God.
Hospitality blesses our neighbors.
It is as simple as putting a table and chairs on your front lawn and watching what happens.
We think that hospitality has to be fancy.
Hospitality can be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on paper plates.
Hospitality is not about what is served.
Hospitality it is about how it is served.
Hospitality means taking time.
It means opening up your life.
It means sharing what you have with others.
Hospitality is giving your little bit and knowing that God will multiply it for His glory.
As I drove back down the road from which I came, I saw that all the chairs were gone.
The table was still there.
The table looked so forlorn, on the grass, by the curb, all alone.
I wondered if the man in the car took the chairs and somehow made them fit.
There was nothing welcoming about a table with no chairs.
There was nowhere to sit.
There was nowhere to stop for a while.
I was feeling a bit sad about the whole thing.
We do not need a turquoise table to practice hospitality.
We just need to be available.
We need to get out of our comfort zones and reach out to those whom God puts in our path.
There are no strangers here; only friends you have not met. (William Butler Yeats)