This week I am featuring posts by two members of my second writing group. Robin Tucker is the co-founder of the group which meets at my apartment complex.
The table is old, worn, and stained by time’s use. The food, although warm and filling, is neither expensive or exquisite. Yet once again “the twelve” have gathered around it. No one forced them to come. They seem to need to be here. And I wonder, “Why?”
Around the table sit a manager, a farmer, a stay-at-home mom, a musician, a boss, his administrative assistant, a retail worker/fitness guru, an engineer, and four wiggly, giggly cousins. One couple has gray hair, two couples have children, one couple has vowed never to have them. Some are vegetarians; some raise meat.
Different people, different lifestyles, different goals, different life stories. Yet as we all come together, all fades away in favor of an invisible, unbreakable bond called Love.
The unspoken rules were laid years ago written on hearts not paper. Teasing? As long as it isn’t mean. Stories about one another? As long as they are kind. Cruelty, backstabbing, judgment? Not around this table and not in this house.
In the midst of a world that is cold, thoughtless, and unwelcoming, we twelve have found a place of safety and acceptance. A place where we belong. How could this have happened? How is it possible?
Many years ago, we taught them about another table around which sat twelve men – all different – a real rag-tag bunch. Included were a tax collector, a zealot, a few coarse fishermen, two with anger issues, and an opportunistic thief. Some came from the country and could barely speak, let alone read or write. A few came from the city and learned to get by at the expense of others.
Different people, different lifestyles, different life stories, different goals – or so they thought. The rules? They were still learning those and often found them hard to obey. For no one else in the world had taught them these rules. And so, their hearts were still being carved.
They came from a world that was cold, thoughtless, and unwelcoming. Yet here their differences seem to fade. Here together, at this table they found a place of safety and belonging.
For at the center of this table (and ours) sat a thirteenth man. His name is Love.