[First posted in March 2014 on www.deepeningcommunity.ca]
Life can change quickly. Christmas a year ago, I wrote a blog about the challenges of being single. This past Christmas, I got married. I moved out of the tiny house I had lived in for four years on a farm I shared with friends, and I began the journey of creating community with a partner.
At the heart of our home is a round dining room table, six feet in diameter, made of restored barn wood, with a large Lazy Susan in the middle—our wedding gift to each other. I first encountered such a table last July, when Bill invited me to join him and his extended family at a “camp meeting” in Salem, Georgia—a weeklong revival that has convened every year since 1828.
After the Sunday morning preaching, a dozen of us had gathered at his cousins’ “tent”—an open wood structure with a floor of pounded earth covered in wood shavings. We sat around their round dining room table for a feast and some lively conversation. I loved the Lazy Susan at the table’s center. Whenever Aunt Betty was out of potato salad, or cousin Martha wanted another piece of caramel cake, all we had to do was spin it on over to them.
On the drive back to North Carolina, I told Bill that I would love to have such a table at the center of our home. We planned to build it ourselves, out of oak from trees that had fallen at my farm—until a carpenter friend pointed out ever so gently that the project was way beyond our skill set. So, instead, we visited a number of antique stores, on the hunt for our table top, and had the Lazy Susan added.
At our wedding service, we used the Lazy Susan as the top of our altar. Our first act as a married couple was to invite our gathered family and friends to share communion around it. As we broke the bread and raised the cup, we offered the hope that, as the years unfold, our loved ones will join us around it again and again to feast in our home.
Last week we hosted a meal of vegetable curry and rice, filling the Lazy Susan with bowls of raisins and coconut, yogurt and scallions, peanuts and pineapple. Dessert was ice cream sundaes, with a multitude of toppings spinning around the room, along with laughter and conversation. There’s something about a round table, where we come together as equals, and every face is visible to all, that radiates a sense of community.