The Welcome Table

This morning I ran outside for the first time since my hernia surgery, well over two months ago. Monday morning, anticipating a day of clients (four in a row – woo-hoo!) on not-enough sleep and what sleep I did get was wedged between daughters. I got up at 6:00, drank yesterday’s coffee while boiling water for a fresh pot, then went upstairs and put on running clothes.

The usual morning stuff ensued – Greg showering, girls burrowing deeper under the covers before finally finding their way out of the bed and into the day. They were so excited to see snow on the ground and actually couldn’t wait to run down to get their snowpants and boots on (it was only a dusting, but excuse enough for winter gear). We got to school three minutes late as usual and had a pretty easy drop-off. Then I dropped Greg off at his office and decided to run outside instead of at the Y as I had originally planned. The crisp air felt good and after a mile or so, I warmed up. I felt surprisingly fast and strong.

There’s nothing quite like running to get the synovial fluid and ideas flowing.

I’d been singing “The Welcome Table” all morning; it’s one of those songs that has a way of getting stuck in your head without driving you batshit. Aviva also happens to love it – she learned it in music class at school last year – and we’re always coming up with new verses.

The Welcome Table. Suddenly I thought this would be a perfect title for my book. “Welcome home to yourself, to the life that is waiting for you so patiently…” Just go to my home page and you’ll read these words, the premise of my work. And the premise, too, I realized as I ran, of my life.

When I was exactly one month old, my Great Uncle Sam sent me a telegram. I’ve written about it before. Today it’s framed on a wall in my home office:

Dear Jennifer, or may I call you Jenny? Welcome to a mixed-up world. No matter, I know you will be happy together. Love, Uncle Sam.

It struck me this morning that one of the earliest messages in life that I received was one of welcome – and also realness and optimism. And I thought, well geez, isn’t that what my whole life has been about? Both losing and finding my way home in a mixed-up world, in my body, in my work, in my relationships? Being hopeful but not at the expense of being real. Uncle Sam was onto something.

I am still working on what the shape of the book will be, and this felt/feels like another possible portal. Just now, I looked it up on Amazon and guess what? Maya Angelou already used it. Maybe she wouldn’t mind. Who knows? Maybe she’ll write me a blurb someday!

In any case, I wanted to say this tonight: Welcome home. I know we will be happy together. We’re gonna feast on milk and honey one of these days, hallejujah!

Image: “Daughters of Jerusalem” by Jan Richardson

One thought on “The Welcome Table

  1. GailNHB says:

    Hallelujah, indeed. I like the title a lot. There is something about the word “home” that gets to me. I’m not always sure where “home” is, but I like the idea of someday arriving – and knowing it. I have a hunch and a hope that, for me, it is someplace in Spain…



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