Sitting at the table looking out the window, I wondered what I should write for the Writerís Challenge. I enjoyed the pasture scene with all its natural beauty and splendor. A family of wild turkeys scurried about among the horses looking for grain in their droppings. There were deer, several does and their fawns, grazing at a further distance. The horses, turkeys and deer were oblivious to each other; each group understood their proper place.
Suddenly it hit me. Here I was, sitting in the middle of the topic to be covered, inside the kitchen, and I was blessed to see one of Godís glorious gifts, the natural world, unfolding before my very eyes.
It activated my mind and reminded me of many things that had taken place during my time spent in the kitchen. Many of my most precious memories throughout my life came from togetherness in that very room. This was true regardless of the actual house where it was located.
First I thought of my childhood. We had a comfortable home which included formal living and dining rooms, but they were used primarily for large gatherings or special holiday occasions. When it was just the immediate family, the kitchen table was the place where we usually poured out our hearts and souls.
Sometimes the conversation was joyous and happy, other times it was solemn and sad, but it was the place where we all felt most comfortable exposing our inner selves to each other.
The kitchen was where I finally let go and shed tears when my father died. It was where I showed my anxiety and, yes, even fear of the unknown the night before I reported for military service during the Viet Nam war. And it was where my mother expressed her happiness that I was graduating from college and where I told her that I was going to be married.
And later, with a family and home of my own, it was where we gathered with the kids for most of our meals and family discussions. It was always warm and cheerful, and combined with the aroma of freshly baked bread or cookies it made the cares of the day seem less important.
I reviewed many a homework assignment at the kitchen table. I also used it for disciplinary discussions when needed. It is where I told my son how proud I was of him when he made the football team and where I also learned that my daughter was going to make me a young grandfather.
And that leads me to the present day. With the kids now fully established in their own households, my wife and I are together by ourselves as we look ahead to what we hope will be a long and productive remaining lifespan.
I am retired and working hard at being a writer, but my wonderful wife is still hustling in the working world providing healthcare for our military veterans. But when she returns home each day, the kitchen remains the place where we discuss our day and any issues that need attention. It is the place where no secrets are necessary and we can truly be ourselves.
And I now even find it fun to cook and experiment with recipes. Being transformed into the manager of the kitchen isnít so bad at all. After all, I have spent an awfully large portion of my life there; I guess it only appropriate that I experience for myself its full practical purpose.
Why has the kitchen played such a major part of my family life? Could it be its warmth, the good food, spirit, and the love that it has produced over all these years?
Thatís probably part of the answer. But maybe, just maybe, there is a much bigger reason.
Maybe that warmth, food, spirit and love represents in clear practical terms the central place that our loving and merciful God must be in our lives. After all, He keeps us warm, feeds us with the nourishment of our being, fills us with His Spirit, and loves us always.
All He wants from us in return is to believe in Him and Follow Him. So I will keep Him with me in the kitchen of my life always. No wonder the kitchen is so special.
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