A Seat at the Table: The Gift of Gratitude

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Some time ago, two friends invited me to lunch at their home.  I had gotten to know them through a class that we were involved in.

From the moment I stepped into the home, I knew that this would be an unforgettable experience.  It was a celebration of friendship in which they had lovingly baked and cooked a real feast.  It was such a delight! I was touched by the care and attention they had taken to do something special for me.  It still means a lot even as I remember it so many years later.

I was at their table and they had taken pains to make the experience something they knew I would love and appreciate.  It was a moment of pure pampering for the soul.  I left that luncheon feeling nourished in spirit and body.

Now what if I had sat at the table and not expressed appreciation for the care and attention they had obviously put into the meal?  That would have been rude and mean-spirited on my part.  Not only would I have ruined the pleasure of the meal for them, I would have ruined it for myself as well.  That’s the nature of human interaction. We tend to get out of relationships what we put into them.

In life, we’re often guests at someone else’s table.  And it’s not always set the way we would do things if the table was at our house. It may be a boss who has a different set of expectations than you do or a friend who looks at a situation from a unique perspective.  Regardless of the particular context, the point is this -it’s not our way.

But so what?  Why does it matter?  Why not simply accept the fact that a different way can be embraced and enjoyed simply for what it is. It’s really not about if we’re at my table or yours; it’s about being mature enough to appreciate and cherish what others bring as their unique gift and accepting it for what it is and being OK with what it is not.

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