Like many families, these last weeks of living under ‘stay at home’ orders and finishing out our school year via distance learning has led us to spend lots (and lots!) of time around our dinner table. Our dinner table has become our family’s command center. Not only are we sharing more meals around the table, but we have found it to be the central gathering place for all of our schooling, crafting, and the occasional board game or puzzle challenge. In these uncertain times, our family table has become a place of comfort. It is our place to gather, laugh, and pray. It has, in many ways, become a place of refuge for our family during the hard and tragic days of Covid-19.
In these last weeks of the pandemic, I have found a new appreciation for the graces and spiritual fulfillment our dinner table has offered my family. When looking around our family table, I cannot help but think of God’s table, the table where we gather to witness the greatest miracle of our lives—the physical presence of Christ. Although my family and I are not able to be physically present around God’s table at this time, I can still see and feel Christ’s presence. He is here with us, laughing and praying with us. He is also here even as our young children throw their food across the table or as our teenagers roll their eyes at our correcting them to put away their phones. Christ remains faithfully present at our family dining-room tables, always ready to offer a guiding hand when it is most needed.
Our family tables reflect what we have encountered when gathered around God’s table at Mass. The laughter, joy, prayers, and even the tears are proof of that as they all reflect the great joyful hope God offers from his table to feed the messiness of our lives. The next time you are sitting with your family, look around, and I bet you will see the same. The life that flows freely from our dining-room tables carries on the life that we received at God’s table. It has been these gifts that have continually offered my family joyful hope during these uncertain times.
So, in the coming days, as restaurants and stores reopen, and as my family jumps into what we hope to be a summer filled with trips to museums, parks, and zoos, I hope that my family’s new-found love for gathering around the dining table will stay long after our lives have moved on. I hope and pray that my family will continue to seek comfort there, and that we will never take for granted celebrating the mysteries of our faith at the foot of God’s table. I also pray that all moms will continue to be spiritually fulfilled and renewed doing the same everyday things that we have always done around our ordinary family tables.