The Gathering







    There’s something about a table set with flowery china, silver flatware and crystal glasses that makes me giddy.  Fresh flowers, pressed linens and pretty lighting make it difficult to hold in squeals of delight.  The thought of sitting next to someone I have not already met makes me excited.  I love looking down the length of the table and making eye contact with someone, smiling, but not sharing words.  It is only a quiet, content acknowledgement of their presence and there is something mysterious and fun about it.  The anticipation of conversation with those I have not met before draws me in, I sit on the edge of a chair.  Everything about this type of occasion stirs my heart.

    I recently had the privilege of hosting a small gathering, a tea party.  A few dear souls joined me around a table sharing tiny sandwiches, tea and even tinier desserts.  Each person knew at least one other, but all met someone new.  My heart was filled with such fun and encouragement as I watched my friends share embarrassing stories and sweet memories with people they may not have otherwise had the chance to know.  The experience was unusual for most.  I enjoyed offering this opportunity to try something new; I also enjoyed watching the fellows eye the tiny sandwiches with much speculation (it was the sweetest kind of confusion).  

    My family often opens their home for people to gather, and I have grown up no stranger to an abundance of company.  I realized that, while I may be familiar with which fork to use when and how to begin a conversation with someone new (and not feel uncomfortable), my friends may not have been.  Of course, these friends are not unsophisticated, socially awkward or unwilling to try something new (they accepted an invitation to a tea party, after all!) - but I do believe a lack of practice in anything can make one a little nervous during its execution.  Greatly looking forward to the party, and very nervous about what my friends would think, I was this funny mix of excitement and fear.  What would they think?  Would they talk to the stranger I intentionally placed them next to?  Would they be upset that I placed them next to someone they did not know?  Would they be unable to keep a conversation?  Would I feel uncomfortable and launch into the telling of a bunch of random stories and facts?  The list goes on...

    Despite every concern in my curly-haired head, my little tea party went well.  We had our fair share of awkward moments (mostly caused by myself, the one anticipating the awkward and thus creating it) and curious glances at unidentified-to-them objects of deliciousness.  These all paled in comparison to the way in which my soul was encouraged.  Every moment spent planning I enjoyed; I loved working through the details and making the food.  Somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten the sole reason for gathering my friends - to encourage community.  

    We all desire to be known, and those few hours were an invitation to pursue genuine community.  Perhaps the two strangers I intentionally sat across from each other may never meet again, but perhaps they will remember the conversation for years to come.  There is something restful in a meal together, whether the faces are new or old.  We were designed for this, to know and be known.  Let's pursue genuine relationships and intentional time together.

    Here’s to conversation, community, good food and the sharing of our hearts.

Mary Grace




5 comments:

  1. Mary Grace!! I recently discovered your adorable little blog in this corner of the web and have had oodles of fun poking around and reading the archives. :) And a tea party! What a lovely idea...I haven't had one of those in far too long. I must do that again soon. Thank you for the inspiration. ;) Oh! I, too, have always felt something magical about locking eye contact with someone across the room and sharing a smile. Mysterious and fun...yes...I couldn't have said it better myself. Keep on blogging, dear, you're doing a marvelous job. <3

    ~Rebecca DeGraaf (from Omnibus 4 :D)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, Rebecca! This is the sweetest - thank you so much for your kind words. :)

      Hugs!

      P.S. You are stunning. I love your profile picture, so lovely.

      Delete
    2. Awww, thanks! ^_^ Richt back atcha, beautiful. ๐Ÿ˜˜

      Delete
  2. this made me want to cry, I loved it so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are a dear, I'm glad you liked it.

      Delete