Come To The Table

Come to the Table

What do you bring to the table? Has anyone asked you this question? I think this question or phrase is a huge buzzword in our modern world. The Urban Dictionary defines it as someone who has qualities which represents something out of the normal OR someone who should be represented because of what they do or say that places them out of the realm of this world. Clearly, a person who brings something to the table has something to offer.

We could digress here and say that everyone has something they can bring to the table. We could debate the type of table in a figurative and literal sense. However, entertain me, and let’s take it a step backward: To bring something to the table one must come to the table.

The randomness of this thought process started something like this: As you note the last type I wrote a blog was about four months ago. Shortly before the holidays, I broke my wrist. Writing or typing was pretty challenging at that point. Then, by the time I regained some typing proficiency, I lost my momentum. Between three children who have faced challenges this year and numerous commitments, I quit writing. And, I bought into a big fat lie: I allowed myself to believe that I had nothing to offer because I was struggling with motherhood. I couldn’t imagine offering advice on anything when my world was so off-kilter.

As I took stock of my lack of writing, I kinda forgot why I started this blog in the first place. It started from a writing conference I attended almost three years ago. I hope to go back this year for some professional fine-tuning. The family schedule might not allow that and that is okay. I think all writers, and speakers, go through a dry spell, or a writer’s block, if you will. We might be living what we are to write or speak about in the future. Our brains might need the down time. Who knows why else? I think each person must decide that for themselves.

As I pondered the title of this blog, my mind drifted to an image in one of my children’s history books. One is studying American history. One subject last quarter was the Civil War (also called the War between the States or the North versus the South). After some pretty devastating losses, General Robert E. Lee marched into General Grant’s camp and surrendered. They did this at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. They didn’t negotiate the terms standing up: they did it around a table. When you look back to history, many treaties were drawn up around a table. In fact many events are negotiated around tables: family tables, conference room tables, executive boardroom tables and many others. If you think about that table at Appomattox Courthouse, everyone walked in with something and everyone walked out with something.  It was the act of coming that started that process.  It is like that at most tables.

Another important table in history is one we celebrate this weekend:  At the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Jesus came to the table. He invited twelve men. Men who followed Him. Men who loved Him. Men that He loved as His brothers. They brought their egos, their troubles, their friendships, their dreams and their devotion. One even brought trouble. They all were forever changed by what happened at the table.  Especially Jesus. A person could write a volume of books about THAT table in THAT room. Experts have and experts will. The most important part for me at this point is that they came to the table.

Now, I could digress here and wax eloquence on what type of table. I could become very philosophical or academical or existential and ponder the existence of the table. I won’t because the heart of this blog is not a table itself. It is the act of coming forth. My focus is action: It is the act of moving forward and deliberating trying something and committing forward momentum. I am coming to the writing table – I am not sure about the topic or direction at this point. I am committed to being present. That’s all that required at this point. The rest will come in time.

Maybe you have asked yourself that original question: What do I bring to the table?  Maybe a teacher, a spouse or a boss has asked you that question.  You might know.  That is a great thing!  I hope you do.  You might be in the process of learning what it is that you bring to the table.  If you are stuck about that question perhaps you could start with the issue coming to the table.  That is where I am starting.

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