The Feast of Broken Pieces


“Hunger is the love child of need and desire and who among us does not crave more of something in our lives?”

We sit at a table round and old, the edges burnished by years of reaching deep and sidling close. It was bought by my parents, this table, when their love was still young and the road less littered. The years and their offerings, they have left their mark and there are scars to remind us all. But when I run my hand across the polished top, I smile at the way that my fingers glide and dance.
We are a motley crew, this gathering of souls, and yet we are all cut from the same cloth. Our blood runs thick with crooked noses and broad shoulders, almond-shaped eyes and cowlicked hair but despite the familiar echoes, I sometimes feel as if I am looking into the faces of strangers.

For aren’t we all just stories draped in flesh and can’t it take years to peel back the layers that mask our true forms?

Some of our tales have never even been whispered but yet, they blow silent through cracks, wanting to be heard. It is their muteness that rings loudest.

We’ve all come hungry.

Hunger is the love child of need and desire and who among us does not crave more of something in our lives?

We all have holes centered deep that long to be filled but there is one that sits next to me who keeps digging holes.

He is swallowed altogether daily and as the dirt rains ugly on his head he curses the darkness, every time. And no matter how many times he washes his hands he still has dirt under his fingernails.

I glance across the table and catch the tick of impatience in another’s cheek.

He is clearly torn between two worlds, one grounded here, the other, somewhere distant where hopes and dreams escape and leave rabbit trails all about the sky. I can see it in his eyes, the desire to fly away fast competing with his heart’s cry to land soundly here. His tight jaw and furrowed brow reveal his tortured choice.

Across from him sits resignation made human.

She smooths the edges of her napkin, over and over, hoping to make its curled up edges lie flat. She has practiced that routine faithfully and she calmly recites her lines to herself, knowing their truth will set her free.

At the head of the table, love sits sinking.

He is tired and worn but he still smiles through the fog of age. And he looks around at all of us gathered, all of us littered around this life that he helped put into motion, and his eyes, they leak.

For what else can you do when you gather up all the bits and pieces, the beautiful and the ragged, the torn and the mended but find that you hold the cloak of heaven in your hands?

And suddenly, this table is an altar and we are offering up ourselves–meager loaves and stinky fish that we may be–hoping, with everything that we have and are, that it will become more.

Yes, we are so very hungry but bread must be broken before it can be shared and so we are laid open upon the table.

Our shaky hands hold crumbs and we pray that they are enough but, everyone knows that it will take a miracle.

And in a twinkling, it enters in.

I look into the eyes of my family and a still small voice whispers hope unending. All of these broken pieces, they are the gift and it is because of them the miracle occurs. Suddenly, we are at a dinner party and the host has gathered us there by hand. We are the poor and the crippled and the blind, welcomed in from the streets to a table set with joy–a hundred fold.  We, the lost, have been sought after, pined for, found. And the host, His heart swells. This table has been prepared for us.

We are broken.

And we become the feast.


Image credit: Bread! by  Brett Nielson

Holly Grantham
Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace. After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends that she lives in the country.
Holly Grantham

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