THE TACO TUESDAY TABLE … our stories begin at the table

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I borrowed this scripture and a quote from Francis Schaeffer from The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell:

Hebrews 12:13
Take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.

“I dare you.
I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ…
Begin by opening your home for community.
All you have to do is open your home and begin.”

We’ve (my husband and I) always loved what happens at the table. Set a table. Invite some friends to share said table  – add to it the placemats, plates, silverware, napkins, cups and some of their delicious dishes for the meal. No, don’t make all the food, but do make sure it’s a tasty. Dessert (and coffee or tea) adds a much-needed intermission to the table-time. Music, yes, but not so loud that we can’t hear each other. Outside or inside – whatever weather beckons.

What happens at the table is always good. We share our stories there. We tell the plotlines of our weeks and months, giving details to characters (where we play the main character), the rise and fall of conflicts, while tattling on ourselves and applying as much truth as we dare ourselves. If we feel safe, it tumbles out of us. If we feel cautious, someone else will find the right questions to tug at our story. Or they’ll go next, so we can take a breath and wait until it feels safe to share.

The key is wanting to listen, caring as we listen at the tableAnd trying our best NOT to place our story on top of their story. Let their story take “full stage” as we say in theater. Let them have your undivided attention, your sighs of agreement, your laughter, or your tears when necessary. Listening is a gift we give to others and to ourselves.

So let’s do this!

We began Taco Tuesdays out of a desire to eat a favorite food on a day that provided alliteration, but also for the community the common taco provides. Most everyone loves a taco, or at the least the accompaniments or rise, beans, chips, salsa and guacamole.

At the present moment, we are in the midst of the cultural earthquake called Covid19 (maybe it’s more a medical and cultural crash). Life seems very fragile today. People seem tense and short with one another. It’s a “me-myself-and-us only” mentality out there. It’s a hunker down and take care of yourself first (especially TP and Paper Towels). They call staying  inside and away from the virus “cocooning” — finding ways to prepare your own food and entertain themselves as we’re “shut down.”

So why are we inviting people into our home – to our table? “Can you come over and break tacos with us… does 6:00/6:30 work?”

Our first Covid 19 table date was with our dear friends, Keith and Peter. Oh, we’ve broken many tacos over the years with them. We love these two guys. They are kind, brilliant, creative, gentle-hearted, sincere-in-faith men, with tremendous humor and awesome laughs. They are gentlemen in every way. I can’t believe two young women haven’t snatched them each up yet… Hey ladies, these two are the real deal! And they have jobs. And are generous of heart and mind.

As always, we told our stories, and laughed, and discussed the confusion of this Covid19 story we’re all in… far too late into the night. Finally, we had to say ‘goodbye,’ with the hope of breaking tacos in the near future.

This night confirmed to us that we are going to live out our truth at the table during Covid19. It’s hard to hide at the table. Plus, we don’t use long tablecloths that provide camouflage. I’ve never been a tablecloth person. We use placemats!

(And do you know what happened? That stinkin’ pandemic stopped our table time…for a while. We stopped eating at our family table. Instead, for a time, we balanced food on our laps and watched Jeopardy, The Office, Parks & Rec, Reba, Golden Girls… movies that reminded us of the good ole days: Waiting for Guffman, Napoleon Dynamite, Clue, Alfred Hitchcock movies, Homeward Bound, Charlie Brown, National Treasure, Funny Girl, Christmas movies, Hairspray, Stand By Me… and then we sunk into a brown marsh of goo and watched the Netflix series about the lions and the nutty people.)

We stopped Taco Tuesdays. We even ate tacos by other taco-makers.  How wrong was that?!                                                                                                                           

Almost 2 years to the date we’ve been back at the table for tacos with Keith and Peter. But this time it’s a Saturday night. Not a Tuesday night. 

They’re just as fun as they were two years ago, but all four of us are different people now. 

We’re wiser, kinder, more grateful… we’re still here.

The tacos never tasted better. The guacamole was delicious, Keith. The rice and beans were really tasty, too. David figured out the low-fat taco shell-maker “apparatus” from Amazon that we purchased in 2020.

We played a corny dice game – Tenzy. 
We caught up on each other’s stories.
We solved a few of the world’s problems.
We had Thrifty’s ice cream – 3 different flavors. Thanks to Pete!
We laughed some more.
We asked, “How can I be praying for you?”
We filled up the dishwasher.
We made plans for our next Table Time and a craft. Yes! We are going to make Gary Bayer drinking glasses out of wine bottles for our craft. Gary Bayer loved the table. His wife, Cindy Bayer continues—sharing the table in Israel.

The Pandemic took some things away from us, but not everything.

I’m reaching back for what’s mine. What’s ours, together.

Sorry Pandemic – you didn’t get the table. You can have some of these other worthless things like: worry, selfishness, judgement, isolation, being rude, consumerism, fear, anger, greed.

Leave me the best – the table, the stories, and a fresh package of tortillas for Taco Tuesdays on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday…even on a Sunday if we’ll all hold hands and thank God for His goodness and everlasting mercies before we eat!

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