Community is a beautiful thing.
Last night marked the final time that we all would be gathered around that table in that house – a house alive with community and deep friendship. That table was the place that I ate my very first meal in North Carolina over three years ago. Little did I know at that time how significant that house & that table would be in my life. Conversations around that table were ones of encouragement, of happiness, of tears, of growth & understand.
My second trip to North Carolina came the weekend after I left my nursing program. The decision was fresh and the emotions were still raw. My life was moving in a direction that I didn’t understand & next steps were uncertain. All I knew was that something needed to change – and I had not the slightest idea of what that could look like. That weekend, I sat at that round table in that very kitchen and had a conversation with the people who would turn into some of my biggest mentors. Suddenly, I felt more at peace, more understood, more at home. Fall turned to winter and I returned before the end of the year to that place that tucked itself into my heart. I spent almost two weeks falling more in love with these people and this place – and that table.
It was after that trip that I made the decision to work towards moving – after much joking about just that. Somehow things started falling into place. Things starting making more and more sense. And just like that, three months later, this sweet town would be my new home & these people my extended family.
And still we gathered around that table. Dinner parties, holiday parties, after parties, homework parties, porch parties. New friendships, intentional relationships, dear friends, life friends. Good conversations, hard conversations, deep conversations, laugh-until-you-cry conversations, just straight up cry conversations, life-changing conversations. New friends because life friends around that table. Life was lived around that table.
And yet, life continues when we leave that table. Those friendships, those conversations, they go beyond the table. The memories are the people, the relationships, the community. While the memories seem to live in that house, it was the people who made the memories. What made that table so life changing, was the souls that gathered around it each night. We gathered around that table knowing that we would share laughs, tears, and life. We knew that we would be cared for around that table – physically, mentally, and spiritually. And last night, as we sat there for the last time together, we went around and described our best memory there. Through laughs and tears, we all talked about the things that sit near and dear to our heart – but there was one thing that was very evident. The memories were the people. The memories were created in that house, but without the people they would be completely insignificant.
So here we are – in a new season. We all have lives that move in different ways, at different speeds, in different places. But still, we will gather. It may not be around that table, but it will be with those souls.
So here’s to the next season. Here’s to a new table. Here’s to many more years of community and deep friendship in whatever house we find ourselves.