Saturday, June 27, 2015

Setting the Table

Our dinner table is different now. 

One more seat is taken for several nights of the week. Lifa sets out one more placemat for Chris, a handsome man who loves God and lives out his faith with unwavering conviction. Chris came into our lives this year, and things got bigger. Bigger and better. More than just the number of placemats  set out, there is much more space in our hearts, mindsets, and at our dinner table with this man next to us.  

We sit together at that table and share meals, stories and laugh at Lifa when he takes "table naps" because he just can not stay awake past 6:30pm. Life and laughter together is transforming our dinner table. Or maybe it's the other way around.

Last weekend, we set the table for the kind of family we believe in and the kind of family we are becoming.

Epic Father's Day weekend.
Lifa’s father took a 4-hour taxi ride into a setting he’s never known, and we invited our pastor’s family from our local church. Lifa and I had been dreaming around the breakfast table for days about what it would be like to bring his dad into this part of his life and to introduce him to Chris. We planned for weeks about how to celebrate, honor and be a family together.

Family happens together. 
We were all made to belong in a family.

Lifa and I spent the morning preparing a father-style feast, making cards, baking cookies, binding the book Lifa wrote, and decorating with paper chains, a chalkboard message, balloons, and a banner. The boys (Lifa, our pastor’s son Blessing, and another friend Macbeth) and I set the table and picked out party clothes. Once Blessing’s tie was clipped on and the boys gave me giggly thumbs up, they welcomed their dinner guests with a dance performance. Of course.  

The guests were led to the table, where they each had a special seat marked by a personalized placemat. Lifa spent hours making them. The boys each served one of the fathers around the table and were beside themselves with the excitement of having a role to play in honoring the men they want to become.

The table presentation was beautiful, but the colors and placemats were only a symbol of the vibrant, extravagant beauty that happened at that dinner table.

Together, eight of us did what three of us usually do every night. We shared our highs and lows of the day; we talked about what we are thankful for; and we told stories. We talked about the kind of family we are and how family happens at the dinner table. The tension Lifa had been feeling about his worlds colliding washed away completely with the simple, steady rhythm of table talk and sitting at a place set for him.

That's Lifa's dad at the end of the table.
Chris sat on one end of the table and reached across to Lifa’s father at the other end of the table with words of affirmation, welcome and love. Lifa’s father beamed the same smile Lifa smiles in that same seat at dinner every night.

This was Lifa's father's first time to sit at a dinner table and eat with a family. And it will not be his last.

The more family you add, the more room you have.
It’s the economy of the Kingdom, not of this world.

Lifa doesn’t have to leave one family to be a part of another. Neither does his dad. There's space and there's a place for each one of us in a family that lasts forever. So we make meals and make family with that in mind.

We don’t have to know the future or make the meal plan. We just have to set the table for it.

Best Father's Day. EVER.

God is expanding our family, changing our dinner table, and inviting us to make space for something greater. There are great things ahead, friends, and we are inviting you to bring your highs and your lows, and pull up to a placemat for some table talk. More details to come soon.

Church together on Sunday morning