It’s the end of an era.
The house is all boxed up.
The last load of laundry is on the line.
The final jumbo pot of chili is cooked.
Tonight, for the last time as a resident, I will spread out my favorite tablecloths, and we will eat together. We’ll spread them on the wooden planks of the deck, use disposable bowls, and build Dorito pies as high as the sky. We’ll share our highs and our lows, and we’ll be thankful in this most bittersweet, tablecloth-covered goodbye.
Tablecloths are becoming a thing in my world.
They punctuate. They invite. They set a tone.
Chris, Lifa and I had a serious celebration, with all 6 helping hands and 3 oversized smiles, the last time we unfolded and spread out a brand new tablecloth to have guests over for dinner. We’re table and tablecloth people. And I LOVE that.
There’s nowhere I’d rather be than sitting at a table (or at a tablecloth turned into a picnic blanket) and sharing a meal with people. That coming-together meal punctuates the comings and goings of our days and our lives.
Tonight, there will be more food, more tablecloths, more people, and a lot more to gather around. Tonight, we remember more than 5 ½ years at Ten Thousand Homes.
Almost exactly one year ago, I spent my 30th birthday dancing in the bottom of an empty swimming pool at the surprise party of a lifetime. The Ten Thousand Homes crew and a whole lot of good people from America shattered my understanding of celebration, love and knowing by surpassing anything I had ever experienced.
One year later, I will spend my 31st birthday this Sunday spreading out chili-stained tablecloths in a new yard to make yogurt parfaits and to pray over the first home we will live in together as a married couple.
Chris and I will be married at my very favorite place in South Africa on September 12, 2015. I have left the ministry of Ten ThousandHomes in order to join my husband-to-be at Children’s Cup, where he serves as the South African Country Director.
It’s happening, folks, in two weeeeeeeeks!
Boxes will be everywhere in the new house on Sunday, just like they are in the old house today. I’m still not 100% sure how to get there, and everyone is concerned about my ability to back out of the driveway. But we’ll be there on my birthday. And we’ll come with more disposable bowls and spoons because I won’t know where the dishes are yet. We won’t be married yet or living in the new house, but we’ll be there together and it’s the best kind of birthday I could imagine.
There will be tablecloths and people and remembering and celebrating.
We all have boxes to move. We all have to give back keys and get new keys at some point. We all have dotted lines to sign throughout this lifetime, and we make a lot of choices that affect a lot of people.
The things in those boxes will break one day. The dotted lines will fade away. And I lose keys at least once a week.
|Lifa learning about the equally|
important worlds of hangman
But it’s those choices.
It’s the way we punctuate.
It’s how we round it out, how we come together.
It’s what happens around the tablecloth at the end of the day.
The keys, the boxes, the ministry, the marital status may put some defining lines on an era, but those things are not the era. They are the details and the stepping-stones we have as we climb strength to strength. They are the stories we tell at the table.
At the end of the day, it’s not about the stories.
It’s about how we tell them and who we’re sharing them with.
Whatever your era looks like, whatever the details of your stories are written with, punctuate them with Truth, with thankfulness, with celebration. Spread out your tablecloths, fill up that slow-cooker, and be full wherever you are.