Cue Mayberry background music. Fade in Morgan Freeman.
The dining room table. For many, the dining room table is sacred. For some, the dining room table comes from a box and painstakingly assembled by a loved one who “follows the pictures.” For others, the dining room table is purchased and delivered from the high end furniture store that specializes in exotic this, and exotic that. The dining room table for many is a place of respite. This is where the family, separated by the needs of this busy world, comes together to share their successes, their failures, and their overall doings of the day. This is where, on a Thursday late afternoon, the children sit to add numbers, practice their writing skills, and read how easily life spirals out of control if you just give a mouse a cookie. This is where the husband and wife plan and discuss the budget dos and don’ts for the month. This is where budding teenagers peacefully negotiate their curfew for the night of the big school dance. And most importantly, this is where the family sits, thanks God for the abundant blessings in life, and enjoys a meal prepared with a healthy dose of love.
Cue scratched record. Drop nostalgic-colored filter. Contrast Cut-new scene.
The dining room table. Where to begin? For many, the dining room table goes no further than the piece of plastic, pressed-wood, or actual wood that it’s composed of. For many, this table serves as a resting place for our everyday belongings. It is here that you’ll find the remnants of last month’s science fair project, bought of course at the last minute from the Walgreen’s down the street. It is here that you’ll find mom’s glasses that she swears were misplaced by one of the more irresponsible younger siblings. And it is here that you’ll find dad’s filing system for tear-stained bills to pay, ignore, and one day shred. This is where you’ll find the tired children working on the massive amounts of homework daunting not only for them, but for any adult forced to help. This is where you find the parents crying over the news that their teenager has decided to take a year, or two, or three off before college to “discover” the world. And unfortunately, it is on this dining room table that one will find the ruins of our Norman Rockwell world.
Cue Ominous Music. Fade Out Morgan Freeman.
Where did it all go wrong? When did we start substituting good family time at the dinner table for the “Can I just eat in my room?” Why is it that we content ourselves with the popular folding TV dinner tray instead of fighting for the privilege and the need to eat as a family? When did the dining room table become just another piece of furniture?
My family is sadly one of those that use it as a glorified coat rack and messy desk. At times I even swear its the smaller version of the Bermuda Triangle. I bet, if I were to look close enough, I might find some missing naval ship or airplane floating among the debris.
We are all to blame, unfortunately. We need to find our way back to the family dinner table. So, fold up your TV trays, and pull out a chair. Let’s make time to converse and share a good meal (whether home made or store bought). Let’s do it. Let’s make the dining room table sacred again.