When Sharing the Table Looks Different from What You Imagined (Guest post Tina Joy)
I'm so thrilled to have one of my most dear friends to the table here. Tina is one of my rocks. Her friendship has evolved and grown into such a life source for me, that it has expanded to not only me; but, my family as well. I love her and her little family. Welcome her to the table
Kamille asked me earlier this week if I would be willing to write a post about what sharing my table looks like in my life. I was happy to oblige her.
It’s somewhere between 1987 & 1993 and I sit down to dinner with my family at our oval shaped dining room table. The four of us, mom, dad, sister & brother all take our respective seats (mine being the only one without a view of the TV), and say grace. Our sweet little family would quietly talk about our day as the gentle hum of Peter Jennings delivering the headlines of the day played as the soundtrack to our meal. After the meal, homework and dishes were done we would gather around for an 8pm show, Family Ties, Growing Pains, Full House, Cosby ….middle class, white, small town American family of the 80’s and 90’s, yes?
I would play house and pretend with my dolls, Bev & Libby, I would take them for walks around town and visit our friends. I dreamed of leaving my small town one day and going to college, then getting married and having a family. I dreamed about having my own family sitting around my own table in my own house, looking just like we did.
And so today, I share my table with my family. My husband and my little girl. Each evening we sit down together to eat…and IT LOOKS NOTHING LIKE WHAT I IMAGINED! In my little dream world my little family was sweet, simple, quiet & white. Every evening I sit down to dinner, and quiet down my child who talks at a yell, and eat a very complex vegan meal prepared by my often boisterous black husband. I look around and think…ahhh, me and my black family. Here we are…my, loud, silly, glutenfree-vegan-eating family. Never did I think that my life would be filled with grits, and collard greens, hours spent maintaining hair, and learning how to pretend to know how to dance. Sometimes I look around and think…where did all these black people come from. And then I remember, my Jesus. My Jesus, who put this wonderful man in my path for me to love and to cherish until death do us part. And how together, we brought this amazing little girl into the world. She steals my heart every day. (And yes, thank you people at the grocery store, she is mine, I’m not the nanny.)
We share our table together each evening. Sometimes with friends and family, and sometimes just the three of us. Days are good and then some days are not so good. But we come to the table anyway. We share our joy and laughter and we share our pain and hurts. We say yes to one another and do a happy dance. And we hold one another and let the tears flow. Our table has marks of paint and crayon and food crusted up in the grooves, but we share it, and we extend that sharing to our loved ones. Because, when I look around my table and think “Wow, not what I expected to see at all!” I am humbled by a God who says (in his best Will Smith voice,) "dang gurl, you sho' nuff been blessed!"