Don’t let the dreamy romantics fool you. Nor the Martha Stewart bunch, which makes entertaining appear seamless. The truth of the matter is this business of gathering around the table day in and day out is hard stuff. It’s not for the faint of heart, and not something you can just sing your way to the tune of, “Life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
Like anything in life, it’s far easier for me to check out and choose the penny candy over pushing through discomfort for the ten dollar toy. I vividly remember how the world was spinning out of control in my postpartum state years ago. Children wanted me, the house needed tending, and once dinner came around all I wanted was to grab a plate of food and retreat into the basement….ALONE.
Recently I was talking with someone about the reliability of God. They mentioned how much easier it is to use drugs to get them through the hard, dark times; because, “drugs are reliable, but God is not always reliable.” Those words stung; because, I saw truth in them. God doesn’t always answer like a genie giving us three wishes to escape pain.
The reason these words of my friend came to light much more so is now I live in a post older brother world who chose drugs to numb; rather, than embrace the kingdom life.
I have to ask myself what I use as my “reliable” drug to avoid working through the offer of a kingdom life. Avoiding coming to the table on a regular basis further exasperates the loneliness in my soul of souls. Food to numb. TV to numb. Drugs to numb. Gossip to numb. Any of these numbing devices, which often feel more secure in presenting a momentary happiness. Meanwhile, they mask the truth of contented, sloppy, glorious joy only found in the pushing past the ache into the work of showing up.
Showing up is engaging when we don’t feel like it. It’s not being a great conversationalist. It’s not gourmet meals. Sometimes the most comforting meal is one where we eat canned soup, and sit knowing we are welcomed just as we are–no strings attached.
I know how hard it is living in this world of seeing how others make showing up so simplistic. I know how hard it is to converse. I know how hard it is to be okay with who you have been created to be. None of this is lost on me.
But friend, can I tell you I see you.
I see how hard it is. I see how other things in life are more reliable. Other things make you happier than sharing your table. Please don’t let anyone tell you inviting someone to your table is a simple formula, or that it’s this great big party. It’s not always the case.
Still, there is hope.
There is this beautiful joy, which is far more lasting than “reliable,” yet fleeting happiness. We are not required to make our tables into an idol of self or other. We are merely the conduits of grace, which always, always points to the feast of feasts of the humble servant Jesus.
He offers life at the table.
He never said it would be easy, or only a select few possessed the gift of hospitality.
He did say, “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG Matthew 11:30)
This is why I believe in the table. It’s why I believe in life-giving hospitality and even good food. It’s why I gather regularly with my family of five around the table to press into the here but not yet. It’s why I choose to cut, chop, stir, and cook to nourish bellies, while conversation of both laughter and heartache replenish our souls.
This is why we go to the table day in and day out, because we see the Giver of life giving to our parched souls. We invite others to our tables, because we know the hope in store. It’s all glimpses of the promise Jesus has for us. And so, as we wrestle with the here but not yet, we choose the table as a place of reference, which points to the final feast.
As you show up, let me offer this very simple, straightforward and family favorite breakfast dish. We call them “Dutch Pancakes” even though they totally aren’t. I think I must have called them that to my oldest (they are actually puff pancakes) and it stuck. They use a dozen eggs, but have no grains, soy, or refined sugar. We use real maple syrup to pour over top and wee bit with the pears.
- 1 dozen eggs, farm fresh preferred
- 1-13 oz can coconut milk, full fat
- ⅓ cup arrowroot powder
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ stick grass-fed butter
- 1 pear, peeled, cored & stem removed and sliced diagonally
- 2-3 Tb coconut oil
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ lemon
- 2 Tb honey
- Preheat oven to 425. Place the half stick of butter into a 9x13 pan. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add the sliced pears and coat them. Add the juice of one half lemon and honey. Using a chef’s knife, slit down a vanilla bean and scrape all the vanilla pods out. Add the pods and whole bean to the pan and stir. Cook until the honey begins to slightly thicken (it won’t thicken that much).
- Place pan with butter into the oven allowing the butter to melt. You do not want the butter to brown.
- In a high speed blender, add the eggs, coconut milk and vanilla and blend on high till combined. Turn the blender to low, and while running add the coconut flour, salt and arrowroot powder.
- Pour all of the pear mixture into the bubbling butter in the pan. Pour the batter over the pears. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve from oven with real maple syrup and a little bit of butter.
- If you want to make these without the pears, simply omit them and bake as normal.
- You could use a butter alternative if you have a dairy allergy (coconut oil is a great option).