Mary and Ken lived right down the street from me. They were famous for their amazing hospitality, adorable farmhouse, and parties that stepped right out of the pages of Southern Living.
Mary was alive with creativity and was always thinking of ways to bless others. Ken adored living out his retirement years helping his bride create a haven for family and friends.
They were still young and vivacious with many plans. But cancer swept in and, before long, Ken laid Mary to rest in the arms of Jesus.
I remember seeing Ken in our restaurant not long after Mary’s funeral. He and Mary had been regulars for years. I knew I needed to stop and say something. But what?
I felt so unsure as I walked toward my grieving friend.
As I approached, words escaped me, so I just bent down and gave him a hug. Tears filled his eyes, “The silence is killing me Lysa.”
“Well then, you must come to our house for dinner. I can’t always promise it will be tidy and I’m certainly no great cook, but one thing is for sure… my house is never silent.”
Thus started a tradition – Monday night dinners.
I have to admit that I didn’t feel adequate to have Mary’s husband over for dinner. He was used to Mary’s lavish meals… all I had to give were quick and thrown together kid-friendly offerings.
We never had candles or tablecloths or even a properly set table. But the noise of our family was an orchestra of comfort and healing to Ken’s lonely heart.
We just did life and let him join in. I would often ask about Mary’s ways of doing things and his face would light up at the opportunity to keep part of her alive.
One night, as Ken was leaving our home, he stepped off the sidewalk to make his way over to a bush in full bloom. He tenderly picked up one of the flowers and pressed his face close, breathing deeply its scent.
He then looked back at me standing in the doorway and said, “Don’t miss this. Don’t rush through your life, Lysa. Make time to stop and breathe it all in.”
I’ve never forgotten that.
My family and I still preserve that sacred space for Monday night dinners. We invite co-workers, acquaintances, and friends that feel like family to join us. We take time to talk. Laugh. Process life. Breathe it all in.
Although our to-do lists and schedules tug at us to get our attention, we don’t allow anything to take priority over these moments. I refuse to let the people I’ve been entrusted with get my ‘less’ instead of my ‘best’ because I’m distracted.
It’s amazing to me that what started out as a simple gesture to help a grieving neighbor became one of the greatest blessings of my life. And I’ve done a lot of breathing it all in, ever since.
If you ever feel like the relationships you treasure most are constantly getting your ‘less’ instead of your ‘best,’ I’d love to invite you to join me for a Monday night dinner conversation around my kitchen table. I’ll be webcasting from my house and teaching on powerful ways to recapture the “us” in the midst of our “rush.”
You don’t want to miss it. Here’s all the information:
Who: Me, you, and friends…
– Renee Swope
– Chrystal Evans Hurst
– Melissa Taylor
– Nicki Koziarz
– Paige Klein
– Tonia Bendickson
Where: Broadcast from my house to your home! Join us here at www.LysaTerKeurst.com.
When: Monday, September 8th – 8pm EST
Enter your email address in the form below to sign up for the reminder list. I can’t wait to see you there!
Leave a comment below telling me a few of your friends you plan to invite to watch this. I’ll randomly pick three commenters to win a $25 gift card to either Target or Walmart – your choice!