the table

I write at a table. A small, rectangular dining room table, with four tall-backed chairs on the perimeter. This hand-me-down table has traveled all across the state with me. And the four chairs, with layers upon layers of white paint, hail from Iowa, just magically matches the table. I make it my goal to daily write at the table. But rarely do I reach my daily goal. The thing about writing at the table is that there’s hardly any room at the table. To scoot around, shuffling what’s already on the table, is a frustratingly tedious task. There just isn’t enough room.

So I stop writing and sit on the couch. The large L-shaped sofa, with stains and ripped cushions, given to us from a neighbor, has been a place of solace. I read on the couch. I pinterest on the couch. I watch Netflix on the couch. I fold laundry on the couch. I talk with friends on the couch. I drink tea on the couch. But I do not write while sitting on the couch.

The table is for writing. The couch is not. The problem is that there’s not enough room at the table for writing. There’s not enough room at the table for me.

When there is no room, I don’t make space, pulling up another chair, but rather I go sit on the couch. I deny the calling. I ignore the gift. I refuse to write. In a spirit of cynicism, I roll my eyes at the writing prompts, certain someone else has written about that already. The last thing I want to do is just add to the noise.

I like to be needed. I like to swoop in and save the day. I like to see a hole and fill it. I like to be valuable.

So if the table was cleared away and there was room for my computer, my cup of tea, and my strange analogies, then I would sit at the table. And I would write. I’d write about light shining in the darkness. I’d write about hope and fears. I’d write about lessons learned and memories made. I’d write about restoration and redemption. But when the space is already taken up, I see no need to add more.

But a few days ago, I heard an invitation. “There’s room at the table. It all has already been said, but it hasn’t been said by you, with your voice. This isn’t a small table, there’s room for you. We’ll pull up another chair.”

The table I write at isn’t my small dining room table, filled with mail and planners and books and plates. The table I write at is a large table, with enough room for me.

I am not the only writer. I am not the most original. But I’m me. And no one else has said it or will say it just like me. My voice matters. There’s room at the table.

Your voice matters too. You have something to say. You are one-of-a-kind and you are valuable. And I’ve pulled up a chair for you. There’s room for you at the table.

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