As multi-dimensional people, we can find it quite easy to declare pride in the aspects our lives that are often encouraged and revered in society. For some it becomes effortless to make it known at church, work, or other public settings riddled with strangers that you have an upcoming graduation, an excellent grade in a class or a new lifetime milestone. However, when we sit at The Dinner Table we must be conscious of the many things that we bring that may not be so popular or so well encouraged by society that yet and still has added to the complexity of who are as family members, friends and colleagues. Many moments in our lives could’ve been considered our darkest days but it is not our job to spread shame, ridicule or embarrassment about a path someone has gone through. We must not forget that it is our lived experience and our own personal outlook on life that has allowed us to contribute to each moment differently from the next person.
We have arrived at the Dinner Table with new understandings about life, lessons learned about love and new modeled appreciations of friendship. Each person comes to the Dinner Table already whole, connected and willing to contribute. As such, each connection we make only enriches us and further connects us to the complexities of our identities. As daughters, sisters, mothers etc. it is so very important to understand the gifts that we have and it is even more important to encourage the gifts in others. There are those who feel as though to uplift a friend is to hold themselves down or to compliment a sister is to indeed dim their own light- this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact the more time you spend recognizing another person’s gifts will make it that much easier for you to recognize similar gifts within yourself. If you can fully recognize that your friend or family member is a great cook, fantastic singer or fierce fashionista then, the leap to recognizing the way in which you are good at telling jokes, making friends or dancing won’t feel like such a stretch.
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Uplifting another will always uplift you too. But to put down, demean, or mock a person does nothing to help your light shine brighter. Once we recognize our gifts as artists, daughters, teachers, sisters, healers and friends, one decision has to be made. How are we going to use our gifts toward service? What might come easily for you may be quite difficult for someone else. While you may have a knack for making friends there may be a person that you know that doesn’t have any friends to speak of. How can we use our gifts to bring service to our community? For that is the only way to honor the gifts we are given. We must remember that when we sit at The Dinner Table, yes we’ve come baring gifts but we have also come in the hopes of bringing those gifts to share.
Written By: Ayondela McDole