Life can start feeling like it is elbow to elbow with our own daily tasks and concerns, the ones beneath our roof, crowded with responsibilities and habits. But there are beloved faces waiting to be recognized beyond the ends of our noses, the spines of our daytimers or the screens of our smartphones. A generous God can put His beloved people in our lives, to enrich and to bless and to be blessed by, if we make room for them. I’ve come to think of this way of living as putting a leaf in the table. Who are those folks who keep showing up where we are, physically, creatively or spiritually? How can we part the seams of our hours and our energy and lay down a bridge of hospitality?
This is not making people into projects. In fact, that is the impersonal and self-driven opposite. Just as we would consider a dinner guest’s special likes, comforts and interests, this is about developing healthy, life-giving curiosity about others. Others in the car line, the grocery line, the next pew, or the next house or street over. Part of recognizing others as God’s beloved is seeing them as unique. valuable and blessed with gifts. What better way to value another than to care about what they care about?
And across the table might just become a two way street. We might find that this beloved one is curious about us, that we have gifts to give one another that we’d be poorer without. In the alchemy of a leaf in the table lifestyle, we might even forget who first made the space, shook out the cloth, and laid the feast.