Why We Gather

On my birthday, I sat with a tableful of family.  We ate amazing food, drank red wine from 1979.   My wine expert dad had unearthed three dusty bottles from the cellar in anticipation of this day.   At one point during the third bottle of wine, the laughing, and the cake part of the meal, my dad waved his hands around, kind of like a conductor, and exclaimed, “THIS is what good wine is for!”  Joy in the gathering, the life in that moment.

Fast forward to last Thursday.   A surprise party plan came together last minute for a friend who is struggling.  He’s waiting for a healthy kidney, I’ve mentioned him.  So for his birthday, twenty-five friends and kids gathered in our house to celebrate.  We cooked up a believable story and they bought it!  {Yes!}   Complete with pizza and party treats, I’d say it was a success.

As our friend’s surprise party drew nearer, I found myself texting these words among friends behind the plan…”THIS is why we have parties!”  I was so excited to join in on the spirit lifting that I so hoped would happen that evening for our friend.  Somehow, just the notion of celebrating and eating and laughing and plowing through this hard life together breathed life into me in a way that mundane daily life things just don’t.   I knew that if we could pull off the party, we’d chalk up a big W for grace and life and friendship and a big L for kidney disease {or any hardship for that matter}.

I venture to say that you cannot make it {healthily} through hardship without gathering.  Maybe life without gathering isn’t really life at all?

I want to have a life full of strung-together grace stories like these.  Moments where I can say, “THIS is why we gather.”  There’s more to this life than living and dying, more than just trying to make it through the day, you know. {Thank you, Stephen Curtis Chapman} Reminds of me of a book I read last summer, Bread & Wine.  The author, Shauna Neiquist, so beautifully writes about gathering at your table no matter what’s on it.  Gathering to lift up.  Gathering to fill bodies and souls.

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One thought on “Why We Gather

  1. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog!

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

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