Before I was even thinking about getting married and starting a family of my own, I had a dream of having a great big dining room table and mismatched chairs all around it. That summer I finally found a table, albeit one that needed a lot of work, at a garage sale for $50 and began collecting chairs. I never did put any work into it, but life has happened around that table, so much life. Community meals and prayer and parties and just regular old eating, such a simple yet central part of life.
Fast forward six years or so and said table was in my current dining room, holding daily meals for our little family, in such sorry shape that it needed the constant cover of a tablecloth. The guy I bought the table from had tried to refinish it, and failed, and I was left with this never-quite-set squishy varnish top that took the shape of any hot pan and attracted the carving of initials and games of tic tac toe.
With every meal with our toddlers creating the need to wash the tablecloth yet again, I found myself lamenting our need for a new tablecloth one night at dinner. Maybe it is time to refinish the table and then we won’t even need a tablecloth, my wonderful and ever-so-practical husband suggested. So, the next week, with his help, I did. It took me nearly a weeks worth of the girls’ nap-times, hours and hours of stripping and sanding and two coats of stain and four coats of polyurethane and a failed attempt at making my own chalk paint and an afternoon spent painting the base of the table white and in the midst of all of this work I kept thinking, my goodness, is this really worth it? And then I heard the whisper, do you have any idea how much life is yet to be lived around this table? And I finished the work with a smile.