I’ve dined at countless tables and shared more meals during family events and holidays than I could ever put to paper; paper plates or fine china, never made a difference. However, not even the best meals I’ve eaten could hold a candle to the spiritual meals I’ve consumed in the kitchen.
When the food is gone, the plates are washed and there’s no aroma filling the air, is when the most important things happen in the kitchen. When you’re finally home from work and you can hear the voice of a loved one that helps you shake the day off, in the kitchen waiting for a good talk. What I’ve noticed in my 25 years is that kitchens aren’t only meant for cooking. The way we meet in a mutual area meant for passing by, but instead, get wrapped up in conversations that never fail to leave you with a bigger piece of yourself, is such a beautiful part of this life.
Whether it be the sound of over 10 years worth of struggles and unsaid words, shattering to the floor as my father embraced me in a tight hug. Sharing the specific moment we were finally able to feel one another’s spirit drift back into the rightful place in each other’s heart; a restored soul fragment that had previously been left gaping and burning. Now just even sensing my father’s presence puts me at ease and the sound of his laughter makes me feel more at home than I have in years.
Whether it be card games at the table and laughter with my grandpa that’s over 80. The intangible moment when we all understand each other and for a brief moment when looking at his “gotcha” face as he wins his hand, I realize that we are all still children inside. We are all looking for laughter and happy moments of connection whether we are 5 or 86. It’s amazing how in our most vulnerable state, we revert back to the core basics of happiness where material things we once held so dear, don’t seem to matter any more than winning a hand of “Bullshit”.
Whether it be life advice for my two teenage nephews that still somehow want to hang out with me even though they’re exponentially cooler than I am. As I look over, for a split second I catch a glimpse in their eye of the young kids they used to be. Then, shaking my head and shifting my focus back to the young men that sit before me as my heart swells with pride for the respectful, kind people they’ve become. I realize that every single year I’ve had them in my life has reaped so many blessings, joys, and opportunities to share the changes they grow into each year.
Whether it be my mother-in-law and her always welcoming nature greeting me for an afternoon chat. From conversations about God, to shared similar childhood stories that lend an encouraging model of how God works it out for your victory if you trust Him and try to the best of your ability to be a good person and lead with light, love, and grace.
I’ve had healing in kitchens, tears, and laughter in kitchens, and moments that I know I’ll still appreciate years from now. I think the significance of it all is this: Just because something is disguised as mundane, doesn’t mean that in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our everyday life, we can’t slow down, meet up, and make time before we don’t have any left. Each life is only filled with a certain amount of sand turned seconds in our hourglass.
Make time for those moments that you walk away from feeling a little lighter, a little warmer, and a little more loved. Make time for the people that make time for you. Let’s stop giving those that love us the most the least of us, while our jobs, our stresses, our disappointments, and our pride take a front seat. We need to be intentional in seeking these moments out and we need to understand the significance of sharing moments with people above all else because it’s the only true, tangible thing we’re given this side of our existence.
I hope that by the time I’m 80, I’ll have had a hundred more of these moments and stories with people to let my mind drift off to when my bones betray me and my material possessions have long disappeared. Ones where the location may or may not be the same but the heart of it still leaves a mark and the sound of their voices continue to echo in the room long after the light is turned out.