Table Scraps (Jan-Feb 2004)

By Matt Dabbs

by Lora Chandler
January – February, 2004

When our family comes together at mealtime, there is an unspoken affirmation that no matter what has taken place during the day, we are a family; we are together; and, we are sharing the blessing of God’s grace. We discuss our disappointments and our failings, our accomplishments and successes. At the table, we do crafts, color in coloring books, read the newspaper, look at picture albums, work on the laptop computer, and balance the checkbook. There is a unique intimacy found in our table fellowship.

As our children were growing up, my husband and I made it a priority to have our family together for at least one meal every day of the week. It was a wonderful time for us to listen to our children, encourage them, and to teach new ideas and self-discipline. The dinner table was a place to learn the “family philosophy” and to understand what was expected—an open forum, where questions could be asked and opinions could be debated. We’ve had countless discussions around our dining table that lasted long after the food was cold. We have laughed and cried and argued. The little bits of wisdom learned at the table have come to be known as our “table scraps.” Instead of throwing them out, we have learned to use them, weaving them into the fabric of our family and sharing them with others.

Several years ago, my husband spent almost a month building a new dining table for our family. He decided to give this table to me as a gift on Christmas Day and the whole family joined in the secrecy. A few hints were dropped about the table’s design, but for the most part, I had no idea what he was building. Friends would stop by the workshop to check on its progress and it pleased everyone to be part of the big surprise.

On Christmas Eve, several of our friends came over to help him install the table in our dining room. They covered it with blankets so I couldn’t peek. The excitement was so potent that it was difficult to go to sleep. I could tell that my husband was thrilled about giving this gift to me. The unveiling the next morning was quite an occasion. As the blankets were removed by my three smiling children, I was speechless as I gazed upon the most beautiful table I had ever seen. I had never imagined owning a table so grand. It is nine feet long and is inlaid with solid oak and mahogany. It is beautifully crafted with two pedestal legs that are made up of many individual pieces of hardwood assembled to create a unique sort of pineapple design. It has a clear lacquer finish so beautiful that I can see my image reflected there. It is a work of art that will be enjoyed in our family for many generations to come. Its value to me is immeasurable, because my husband’s talent, heart and spirit are in this table. It is a gift of himself. I tried to tell him how much his gift means to me, but I couldn’t find words to express it. We simply hugged each other and cried.

I will never forget the sense of well-being that settled over us that day. What a wonderful Christmas dinner we shared around the new table as we spoke of the birth of Jesus and what it means to each of us! Grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren in various stages of maturity and knowledge; with different talents, opinions and understanding, came together in unity. The table scraps we share are invaluable in all aspects of daily life as we experience the blessings that come from being a Christian family.New Wineskins

Lora ChandlerLora Chandler lives in New Mexico with her husband, Joe, who owns a furniture manufacturing business. They have two sons and a daughter. Lora has been in a care giving role since 1982 when her husband began his life-long struggle with pain due to a bone disease. She writes a bi-monthly column, “Strength in the Shadows” for Rest Ministries and has also been published in “A New Heart,” a publication of USA Hospital Christian Fellowship. Her interests include inspirational writing, volunteer work in the university ministry, church and family activities.
Contact Lora Chandler: lorac@yucca.net

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About...

Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1583 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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