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Longing For a Kitchen Table

coffee table

As I’ve been preparing to speak at a conference in a few weeks on blogging as a platform, I’ve been thinking much about the idea of the kitchen table.

The kitchen table used to be a place to invite your neighbors in to have a conversation. To make a cup of coffee or tea and catch up on life. I don’t experience that kind of community in my kitchen too regularly. Often I chat with neighbors in the front yard or over the back fence (which has a nice nostalgic ring to it as well.) But actually inviting people inside, well that tends to be reserved for when “company is coming.” When I run around the house the two hours before guests arrive cleaning the toilets and stuffing the toys into bins. When cleaning supplies that don’t make it out from beneath the kitchen sink, make a jailbreak to do their magic.

The truth is I don’t even have a kitchen table. I have lots of places for people to sit, the bar with stools all lined up where I serve my children like a short-order cook, our main table that would be in the dining room if we had walls but we live in one big open concept space, and an island in my kitchen on coasters that is used sometimes for homework, but mostly for collecting junk mail.

But more than an actual table, I need a space for someone to be with me. To spend time, whether talking matters of the heart or just talking the weather. Relationships are built in part by an immediate deep connection, but often by the everydayness of what are you doing this afternoon?

So my kitchen table these days looks like my computer with online relationships, my phone with calls while I drive my kids around town or texts late at night, the playground at school where I can see the same parents with sometimes big news, but sometimes what are you making for dinner? kind of conversation. My MOPS group meets weekly as a structured table of sorts, but I long for more of the spontaneous in my over-scheduled life.

I guess I long for the space in my schedule more than the physical space to invite people in to my life a little bit at a time.

I’m curious do you have a physical kitchen table? Do you use it for stacking junk mail like me or eating or coloring? Where do you connect with your actual neighbors? And your community neighbors? And what matters most to you, the rare, deep connections or the more mundane togetherness?

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