Written by: JoAnn Rash

Do you still have a dining room table? What do you do at it? Is it the place where you celebrate holiday meals? Help with homework? Pay bills or fold laundry? If so, then my family is not alone.

Years ago, after the birth of our first son, I took a job working for an estate sale company. At times it was a great job, helping people out with a task that is often daunting, to say the least. At times it was a sad job or a job full of family conflict. It was always, though, a fascinating job, one where I got a little glimpse into someone’s life, to see what was important to them, to walk into the place that they called home.

It was at one of these estate sales that I saw the table. It was long. Off-white in color, with glitter and paint splattered in spots. It had scratches and dents. It was the most used and messed up dining room table that I had ever seen. And, I wanted it. Not that exact table, though. One of our own.

A few months later I found it. And the years we have spent at it have given it the same look as the table I saw at the estate sale, minus the glitter. I’m not a fan of glitter.

We eat at our table. We pray and welcome friends. We paint and draw and cut. We wrap presents, carve pumpkins, color Easter eggs. We have family meetings. We work and play games. Boys with toy tools have “fixed” the table. And, sometimes, against my wishes, those boys let the dog walk across it.

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Our table, it’s a scrapbook of our lives. It’s messy, scratched and a little banged up. It shows years of love and grace, joy, laughter and tears. It shows a life lived, without worry of perfection.

Our table is a gift.

A gift that you, too, can give your family. So, stop calling it your dining room table. Clear away the piles of clutter, the piles of clothes. Dust it off. Don’t worry about the scratches and the dents. Start living your messy, imperfect life at it and invite others to come do the same.

Create your family table.

4 thoughts on “Create a Family Table

  1. JoAnn — love your reflection, and your writing style! I just saw an article on how family tables were replacing kitchen islands, because of all the reasons you mention.


  2. I love this!! We have had a couple of dining room tables that have been the center of many of the same activities at our house. I agree so much with the idea of living life with our family and friends at a table that isn’t meant for show, but for gathering. Thank you!!


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