About twenty minutes away, in a little cul-de-sac, three families get together to eat dinner on Thursday nights. Rotating around from house to house, each Thursday provides a different meal. Because there are kiddos involved, dinner is at 6pm, but it never ends before 8pm.

This is one of those traditions that just morphed into being. There was no evite. No meeting to plan or schedule. It just happened. And keeps happening.

And I get to go.

I know. So weird that I eat dinner in a neighborhood where I don’t live, especially when everyone else lives there, but it’s great. It’s not weird to me at all. In fact, I totally love it. The families never flinched- it was never odd that I was there.

If you ask me, there is nothing a one bit strange about enjoying a meal with a bunch of folks you love, thank you very much.

At first, I called it Mayberry. I mean seriously, who does this anymore? But as the weeks go on, and the dinners continue, each week becomes less like fictional Mayberry and more like what reality should be. One of the Dads reads a passage from the Bible. Everyone discusses current issues. People are vulnerable and honest and share their true person. There’s laughter and kids buzzing in and out of the house, running and playing. It’s normal and awesome.

I recognize that this is not common. And yes, these families are very lucky to have each other and to have stability in their homes. Not everyone has that- trust me. I know. I taught public school for five years.

But, they also don’t take their blessings for granted. They celebrate them- over a french dip sandwich, breakfast for dinner, Varsity night, or chicken ‘n dumplings. And homemade banana pudding. And fresh baked bread. And goodness gracious I could keep listing the foods because it hasn’t quit being delicious.

I could go on and be real sappy and cry myself to pieces because I love these people so much. But I won’t.

Instead, I’ve loaded this post with pics of them being, well, them. Silly. Hilarious. All together lovely. Ish. 🙂 The men folk had already left, hence the reason it’s ladies night on the camera.

And here’s what I’ve learned from Thursday night dinners. It’s easy to love people that you break bread with. People bring life. Living in a community has little to do with what church you go to or what school your kids attend. It doesn’t have to be a sports team or a Bible study or a neighborhood. It’s just people. Getting together. Hanging out.

Sharing space on purpose, with no purpose, except to share.

I think I understand community better now than I ever have. Thank y’all.