She had the roast beef and mashed potatoes ready and waiting every Sunday. That is what Mom told me. They’d drive to the Baptist Church in their Sunday best while the smells of Sunday supper filled the house. Funny part was, they rarely knew for whom that supper was for. New folks they’d just met at church that morning? Old friends who could use the warmth and the rekindling and that famous gravy? A single mom who might be blessed by the nurturing and the family and an hour of respite?
They came. This old table was surrounded with friends, covered with nourishment, and a witness to hundreds– thousands, of prayers. Blessings for those seated among them. Petitions for servants far and wide. Thanksgiving for graces unending. Confessions from humble hearts. Hands held, heads bowed, and hearts turned to the Giver of this daily bread.
Nana must’ve known she’d need such a large table. Not one or two but three leaves, so their table for four could grow and grow. Because there always had to be room for one more. And there always was.
It was also a table of laughter. Nana and Papa, newlyweds for over 40 years, shared the table with other couples who’d gather for Friday night bridge games. They had many close friends, but they also had that beautiful gift of making new friends feel like they’d shared years of memories.
I like to think that some of Nana’s favorite “guests” around her table were her grandchildren. (And I’m quite sure that’s right!) And there was no bigger fan of her roast beef than her oldest granddaughter. Was it just me, or did she truly delight in the serving, the preparation, even the work of it all?
It has been eleven years this month since my Nana went home to her Savior. I still know the taste of her roast beef and gravy, can still hear her laugh, still feel the warmth of that blue afghan we’d snuggle under in front of Wheel of Fortune. When we held a celebration for the blessing of her life, face after face smiled in memory of their seat at her table. Story after story told of her welcoming.
She knew what we so often forget. That a banquet has been prepared. That we have all been invited. That around the table we are brother and sister and we commune with the One who gave His body and blood.
She left me this legacy, a legacy of invitation, of welcoming others to the family. And she left me this old table. May the welcome always be open, and may we always find room for one more.