spain

scrape the chairs

(my cover photo for this blog is in honor of the 70th birthday of Andrew Shearman. He’s the founder and vision caster of this place and I am so grateful for the works he put in motion, the table he created and the love he pours every day into those who follow him.)

Last week, on my second to last day of class, I went to Maria’s to write. When Patty and I find ourselves there to do work at the same time we normally sit at separate tables.

But on days when we start class at ten we end up in the bakery at the same time as the rush of moms getting coffee after they drop their kids at school and at the same time as this group of runners piles itself slowly into a corner.

There isn’t a lot of room at Maria’s. Five round tables with about 3 chairs each. And with the cold wind outside no one dares occupy the tables scattered outside the doorway.

So as it gets more and more crowded and the tables get filled one of us will take notice and will choose to move and make room.

I moved this time. I got up and made room and came to sit at the table with Patty. We rearranged it, moved the poinsettia and the napkin holder.

We made room and I sat at the table.

(From the pounding of my heart as I wrote that sentence, I know that there is more.)

I made room. And then I sat at the table.

When I first got here in July I didn’t think there was room for me. And it wasn’t in a negative way (most of the time), I just didn’t think that this was my table. I didn’t believe I fit.

I was ok with sitting away from everything, watching people continually come back and sit and see how it supernaturally expanded.

And even though I wasn’t sitting there; I was so blessed by watching people come back from all over the world and sit without a care who they were next too.

I saw the peace that came when people set their feet back in this place.

The weariness that was shaken off.

The weariness that was shaken off by coming home.

I remember this one moment in college, it was my freshman year and my two roommates and I were dubbed “the mean girls”. Anyway, the three of us and a friend went to a floor event at a restaurant. We walked and the table all of the others were sitting at was full, and no one moved or lifted a finger to find a seat.

So we sat down at another table.

About three minutes later more girls from the floor poured through the door.

And everyone moved.

We watched in awe of the fact that literally every person around the table moved.They made room.

And now as I sit and think about that moment I realized something:

Did I really WANT to sit at that table?

Probably not.

If I would have, I would have made room for myself.

Moved back a chair and set myself down.

I began to, at some point, make room for myself at tables in Spain.

It took me awhile.

I didn’t want to make room for myself. I was that one who had walked through the door last. I was the one who didn’t know where the extra chairs were.

But somewhere along the way I realized that all it takes is me scraping some chair legs on the floor and someone will help.

This table is filled with a whole lot of family. It’s a place that I didn’t have to work to sit at but I had to WANT to sit at. It’s filled with people I trust, people who have wisdom and authority. People who love beyond condition.

Here’s my challenge, my advice, a piece of love: Find a table; find a group of people; find a family who shares your DNA, scrape some chair legs and have a seat.

It will be a place of love and of change if you allow it.

I found my table, my tribe, here in Spain. I am sad to leave them, but I know I will always have a seat.

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