Hey there, it's Maeve. I hope you've been enjoying this Advent series! I hope you have found ways that work for you to slow down, reflect & savor this season. It's so sweet when we do, right? I wanted to share a piece I wrote for The Free Woman. The Free Woman is all about raw, real beauty and celebrating the unique stories within us. I really love the work they are doing. I feel so honored to share a bit of my heart on their blog and have the chance to write about one of my favorite themes - the power in gathering around the table.
When I was a little, I used to play restaurant.
I designed menus, created recipes (mainly involving cookies and pudding) and made lots of tea. I named my little space the Songbird Café. Whenever a babysitter came over I’d hand them a menu and take their order. The really fun ones would play along and take my order too.
Most of the time though, I waited on imaginary customers. I loved who came by and the stories that were told. I didn’t even mind when folks complained that their tea was cold.
In so many ways, the Songbird Café lives on – I still love feeding people. I still love gathering people in our home. Thankfully, now they are real.
And yet still, there are moments I feel this deep need to please and perform and perfect. I feel like it’s all a big show where I am juggling flaming torches and bouncing on one leg. Anyone else?
No one is asking me to perform, it’s this pressure I put on myself. We do this to ourselves a lot, yeah?
What I am learning through trial and error is this – the art of gathering, the essence of hospitality, is not so much the homemade crusty bread but the hands that meet to break it.
It’s not what covers the table but whose sitting around it.
That’s where the power lies.
That’s where the magic is friend.
Of course, a really good meal can make a heart flutter. But what we love even more is the connection.
What we crave is for a moment in this busy, beautiful, disorganized life there is meaning and purpose in the mess. And for a few hours you don’t feel completely alone. There is joy in rubbing elbows, sitting next to someone you barely know and choosing openness and familiarity – even when it’s terrifying. There is beauty in allowing our stories to unravel, finding that in so many ways they are alike, they are woven into each other.