In recent months, we’ve started a new practice at our home, something we’re calling (originally enough) Friday Night Dinners*. The premise is simple: every Friday night, we extend an open invitation to anyone and everyone we know to come share a meal with us. We provide the main dish, which varies each week, and ask those who come to bring a beverage, side dish, or dessert to share. We don’t promise fancy food, and we certainly don’t promise a spotless home, but we do offer a place at the table, a chance to break bread together, the opportunity to relax and chat and unwind at the end of the week.
It’s been an interesting and enjoyable experiment thus far, one we have every intention of continuing for the foreseeable future. Despite my initial fears, despite the reluctance some may have to show up without a specific invitation, we have yet to be lonely on a Friday night; each week has brought a different mix of people, a different dynamic, a different feel. We’ve strengthened relationships with longtime friends and forged new connections with those we don’t know as well. It’s a beautiful way to end a week, around a common table, smiling and laughing and sharing stories, and it’s a practice I highly recommend to anyone else with the time and the margin to consider it.
I’ve had multiple people respond to my post about past suffering and present joys from a few weeks back, people with very different lives and stories than my own and than each other’s. Through phone calls and emails and comments, friends and family have told me that this post meant something to them, that it resonated with them, that somehow, in reading it, they felt less alone.
I tell you this not to brag; though I always hope the things I say might touch others, might make a difference somehow, I am blessed and gratified and humbled when the words I post here mean something to somebody else. And this, this amazes me – that somehow, my sharing of hurts and struggles and joys and triumphs sparks a response in others whose journeys are so very different from my own, that somehow, the telling of stories brings us closer together, reminds us of our common humanity, allows us to feel more connected, less alone.
This is amazing, and important, and true: stories beget stories.