Today is, officially, the last day of my vacation. It was more of a stay-cation, and short of a couple of adventures that I had earlier this week, and yesterday’s grand finale at the Eucharistic Congress, I’ve been at home puttering around the house and doing a little cleaning here, a little painting there.
This afternoon I finally put away everything in the kitchen and decided to give the dining room table a good scrub. I started on one end with the plan to work my way across the wide expanse quickly.
I got a little distracted along the way. We’ve had this table since the late eighties when we settled back in the United States after John’s tour overseas in the Army. He and I have taken our meals there since before our oldest was born, and now with our youngest in college, find ourselves alone again, taking our meals in the same spots.
I wasn’t expecting to get nostalgic about a table, but there you have it. Every mark, every ding, every permanent stain has a story.
One of the corners has a series of pock marks where Vicky, having just learned to walk, ambled up with a hard plastic toy and entertained herself by beating the corner. She grew up to lead bands.
Christy’s spot is full of permanent marker stains…little marks and stray lines that have faded over the years. I’ve never seen a more coloring-liking kid than that, and she’s not too picky about her canvas. Once, she picked up a rock and drew on the side of her father’s truck. It was such a pretty blue canvas and it needed something beautiful to fill it.
There are dings, grooves and crazy glue globs where Jonathan sits. Many science projects and building projects and experiments have been laid out in that area. It’s a good thing, too, since he’s the one who’s largely responsible for finishing some of these home repairs this week.
In short, the table is a mess. But it’s a beautiful mess. A lot like our family. A little messy, a little scattered, but beautiful.
There have been many fights at that table, and awkward, stressful moments. Endless silences. Battles lost and truces made.
There’s also been a lot of laughter and joyful noise, in small intimate dinners and huge extended gatherings of family and friends.
It’s the one place where we always gather, all of us, to talk or eat, or just be together. It’s the heart of our home.
I was putting away the Murphy’s Oil Soap when I realized that today is the Feast of Corpus Christi. Oh, d’oh, I thought. What was I doing at the Eucharistic Congress yesterday? I’m a little slow, but eventually I get there.
If I can recognize the simple importance of the dinner table as an integral part of our family life, how much greater is the sacrifice that was made at another dinner table long ago as an integral part of our faith life and salvation?
Today we celebrate the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Wow. It is the foundation of everything we are, and everything we are called to be.
“Oh Sacrament most holy, oh Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.”