Finding Healing Around the Table
Some of my dear friends threw me a beautiful + intimate dinner party for my birthday earlier this month out in Leiper’s Fork. We picked fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden, used honey from the beehives in the backyard, and picked wildflowers for the table out on the side of the road where buffalo were grazing. What a magical + refreshing day it was. I’m already dreaming about more days like this very soon!
The truth is - I didn’t plan on doing anything for my birthday this year. It’s been a hard and somewhat heavy summer personally, working on personal, heart-related issues. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at and processing things in my heart that I’d rather not admit were there. Things like selfishness, pride, and all sorts of fun things like that. It’s all part of growing and maturing and moving forward, but it doesn’t make it fun, and it doesn't leave you feeling super awesome about yourself. Being in that kind of season, I wasn’t really feeling like being celebrated at the time. If you know me well at all, you know that I’ll take any chance I get to celebrate - birthdays, job promotions, new seasons, holidays (big and small), personal victories, etc. etc. You get the point. So the fact that I wasn’t planning on doing anything to celebrate my birthday tells you a little bit about where I’ve been this Summer.
I treat my birthday like most people treat the New Year. I take time to reflect on the past year, and to dream and hope for the new one. Twenty-seven was the best year and the hardest year all at once. Most of the best things in life are like that, I suppose.
This year was full of rich friendships and seeing God show up in amazing ways. I watched so many of my friends and family get breakthroughs that I’d been praying about for years. I said yes to doing really hard things this year, and I survived (and grew a ton along the way).
I learned so much about myself this year - good things, messy things, hard things, ugly things, beautiful things. I’ve been learning what it looks like to be in process - how to choose hope and how to love myself when I’m faced with the ugly bits that I’d prefer not to admit are there. I’m learning to declare Truth over myself when I start to believe the lies.
And I’ve been re-learning that there is so much beauty in the process - messy bits and all. And that letting people into your process and letting them love on you right where you are is everything.
Thankfully, I have amazing friends who have so much grace for me/each other to be in process and to not be okay. Friends who are completely comfortable sitting with me in my pain or my mess, and not try to fix it, but radically loving me right where I am. Our community has a really high value on inner healing, dealing with your stuff, and tending to your heart. But they also won’t let you run away, isolate, or wallow in your mess. After a bit of coercion and asking me a ton of questions, my husband and a couple of dear friends put together the sweetest, most intimate dinner party for my birthday, and it was just what I needed. They fed me delicious foods, let me wander around the vegetable garden and along country roads and pick flowers because they knew I’d love it, and encouraged me and spoke life over me after dinner. And then they spoiled me with extravagant gifts at the end of the night! (Where are all of my high words-of-affirmation and gifts people at??)
My heart was completely overwhelmed and undone by how intentional they were to love on me, right where I was. I left that night feely refreshed and rejuvenated. I could feel my heart and spirit healing from letting my community love on me in the midst of my mess. I felt the heaviness lifting, and hope and anticipation being restored in my heart. I walked away completely changed, just because my friends prepared a place at the table for me and loved on me in that place. This is the power of doing life around the table.
Find friends who will pull out all the stops to celebrate you even when you don’t feel like being celebrated. Let your people love on you in the midst of your mess.
Find friends who will pull out all the stops to celebrate you even when you don’t feel like being celebrated. Let your people love on you in the midst of your mess. It’s the hardest place to let yourself be loved on, but it’s also the place where you’ll receive the most healing and transformation.
I’d also challenge you (preaching to myself here) to be the kind of friend that will prepare a place at the table for your tribe to be radically loved on. To be comfortable letting others see and love on you in the middle of your mess, and loving on others the same way. Don’t underestimate the healing that can happen around the table. It doesn’t have to be a perfectly curated dinner party - just opening up your home and your table is enough to cultivate an environment for healing and transformation to happen.
Also, if you find yourself in a hard season, check out this post about understanding and embracing the season you’re in.