I began pondering on the things that have made me the person I am today. Of course the list is endless and none of us can know all the circumstances and people who have contributed to who we’ve become or the ways our perspectives and values have evolved. But as I look back over my life, I realise that so much of my thinking has been shaped around tables.
Way back before takeaway was a thing and standing around a barbecue became fashionable, we sat around a table and connected. For many of us it was the centre of the home, the place memories were made, wisdom shared, history learned and young minds came alive to possibilities.
I remember soaking up my father and grandfather’s stories like a sponge. They were stories that have had a significant impact on my life, stories of courage, tenacity and exploring the unknown, on the edge of certainty. I could never get enough of their stories.
They are an integral part of our childhood and as adults we still crave them. We find them in books, movies, TV series and even catching up with a friend over coffee or lunch and the inevitable question, “How are you, what’s been happening?” We want to know the next chapter in their story and so often its across a table that we share our heart.
And consciously or unconsciously we write them every day, fresh chapters in the book of life.
These days we write different chapters around different tables and in the process something important is lost. We are distracted by busyness and technology or eating takeaway on the run and it seems we’ve lost the art of table talk, good solid conversations about things that matter. And maybe we’ve lost the art of listening too. Maybe technology has retrained our attention span but I encounter less and less rich, thought provoking conversations and a dearth of soul-to-soul connections.
As I’ve reflected on the power of the table, I’ve decided to share a series called Stories from the Table over the coming weeks that I hope will inspire you to think so too. I want to invite you to see your table with fresh eyes and imagine all that it can be.
And here's a question for you to ponder in the meantime. What does your table say about you?