Community At The Table


The squat, round table stood overloaded with pastries from Porto’s, carriers of Starbucks’ coffee, homemade baked goods and more. The dozen of us encircling it received looks of surprise—our spread was a bit unexpected in a hospital waiting room.

As we gathered around that table, my dad was on an operating table. His neurosurgeon was excising a tumor that would turn out to be rare, incurable brain cancer.

Two months later a smaller, more somber group of us gathered in that same waiting room around that same table as my dad underwent a life-saving emergency brain surgery.

Each day I’m astounded at the depth and breadth of our community. People I barely knew have stepped deeper into our lives, and they’ve done it in unity with those who have journeyed with us for decades. They’ve kept our freezers stocked. They’ve called, emailed, texted and mailed cards. They’ve shown up at work every morning in my cubicle doorway to check on me.

It leaves me confessing regularly, “I don’t know how anyone goes through something like this without God and His people!”

And through it all, that one little table in that one waiting room has come to symbolize the richness of community. People have shown up again and again to sit with us, to feed us, to grieve with us and ultimately to rejoice with us that someday soon the Great Physician will fully heal my dad . . . and all who trust Him.

Though we’ll gather around an incomparably greater table in Heaven, I hope when I see it I’ll also see the image of a nondescript coffee table in a hospital waiting room and the community that served as Jesus’ hands and feet for us here on earth.

Kristen Hartman

Kristen loves to write and is involved in Women’s and Prayer Ministries. She and her parents (Joanne and Ed Hartman) are EvFree members.

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