Extending the Table

It happened again tonight. I was putting the finishing touches on a humble meal when one of my sons let me know he was bringing a friend along home for dinner. Funny how it’s always the simple meals that get the extra plates set out for. Tonight it was vegetarian pasta. Other times it has been pancakes and eggs, or rice and beans. Part of me always wants to say, “Not tonight. Bring them when I can make something special.”

Here’s the thing about me – I LOVE to cook! When time and money are not an issue, I will spend days planning and cooking elaborate meals for events and parties. And while that is all fun and good, I am learning to swallow my pride and set extra plates out when there is not a feast. Toss some more beans into the pot or put some more garlic bread into the oven. We think we need to share the best and perfect parts of our lives when those in front of us just want to share what we have in the moment.

Love is best given in the present. It cannot wait until everything is perfect but it gives as if the expiration date were tomorrow. Love invites others into the messy and the real-time moment of now. And, I promise you, it fills hungry bellies with a feeling that satisfies long after the food is gone.