Sometimes, when you are in and at your absolute worst, you are given the undeserved gift of unconditional love. This is not void of consequences or painful lessons, but rather, the power needed to walk those things out into a better place. It upholds the heralded truth that declares: no matter how badly you blow it, there is still a seat for you at the table; still a robe and a ring awaiting you; still a feast prepared for you. And beloved ones, who know the worst yet believe the best, passing the plate of grace right into your humbled hands.
Sometimes, we receive an invitation to the house of mourning. It’s not a gathering most would want to attend. You’ll find that only those whom are familiar with the frantic cursive of pain can RSVP. Those who have wailing rooms in their own homes. Those who know the holy ground of grief and devastation, and instead of shrinking back in fear, take off their shoes and enter lightly. Those who make a circle around death and breath into it until life returns, even while bearing their own crucifixes. That medley of lament and travail is other worldly. Eerily primitive, yet gloriously transcendent. It’s the funeral dirge that attributes honor to what’s been lost, and the wedding waltz that resurrects what is to remain. How we are able to feast and mourn simultaneously, is beyond me. How He prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies — incomprehensible. I mean, truly…only God.
I’m thankful for food that is salted with truth and peppered with prevailing faith. Food that has been prepared by hands that know how to open with thanksgiving, and also how to curl a fist and beat back darkness. Hands that know both lack and plenty, and conclude it’s all best in good company. Hands that know how it feels to have precious things torn from them, and eternal things handed back, holding and releasing as He gives and takes away. When it’s said that we lift up holy hands, this is why it’s holy: sanctified suffering, severe mercy, and overwhelming goodness. All these things buoy above the mystery of the unspoken and unknown.
I am one misfit at the table I overturned, only to have it reset before me. One who refused to sit still and know He is God. Yet love that seeks out and gathers at the highways and byways has secured my place, no matter how haggard my soul. In fact, the more wretched the palette, the sweeter the taste of the delicacy of love. I have tasted something so divine, it has left me no choice but to sit and dine. To show up, no matter my mess. If He says I am welcomed, and wanted, who am I to refuse Him? With friends who call me sister, how could I break fellowship like this? I’ll break bread instead, and sip the wine, and give the hard yet flowing thanks among hearts who know how deep a communion this really is.