I read two books in June.
I know it’s the middle of July and pretty after the fact, but it still felt worth mentioning.
I read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult first because literally everyone told me to. As soon as I read it, I figured I should probably write about it given all the recommendations, but I couldn’t figure out how to best formulate my thoughts.
So, instead, I picked up another book.
I heard about The Turquoise Table from another writer/bibliophile who had reviewed it on her blog. The premise was simple: Kristin Schell wanted to build community with her neighbors, so, in a quest to be, as she calls it, “Front-Yard People,” she put a big turquoise picnic table in her front yard and started hanging out at it as much as possible.
Needless to say, I’ve been thinking a lot about tables lately.
I’ve also been thinking about this Benjamin Franklin quote which Jodi Picoult so aptly placed before the first chapter of Small Great Things:
Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
But how can I be affected by what’s going on in another person’s life — their battles, their struggles, their needs — unless I offer them a seat at our table?
Unless I bring them into our life?
A few weekends ago, we drove to Chicago for a long weekend. Four hours into our six-hour drive, we passed a broken down suburban on the side of the road.
Two hours, one new alternator, one attempted battery charge, and one tow-truck later, Jake got back into our air-conditioned-less car (it was hot) and said something important to me: I want our kids to be uncomfortable sometimes. I want them to know that it’s good to do things for other people even if it changes our plans or pushes us out of our comfort zones.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot since too.
I want there to be a seat at our table for people even if it changes our plans or pushes us out of our comfort zones.
I want there to be a seat at our table for people with a wide array of opinions, beliefs, and life experiences.
And, I want the people at our table to teach us to better listen, better communicate, and better love.
(Which, I suppose, is likely inevitable.)
In the two years we’ve lived in Cleveland, especially, I’ve seen how quickly friendships can be formed around a table.
And the best part is this: It doesn’t take much.
I think it’s probably as easy as making sure you have a few extra chairs.
I haven’t given a book away in a few months, but I bought Small Great Things fully intending on passing it along to someone else.
That someone could be you!
If you want my copy, just leave a comment and let me know either straight on this blog post or on the social media thread that led you here!
The only catch is that you have to discuss it with me when you’re finished because I have a lot more thoughts about this one that still need to be fleshed out.
Don’t worry — there’s a seat at my table for you. 😉