So I have this Italian Farm Table Theory of Heaven.
I think we can all agree that Heaven looks like Tuscany. I mean, there are rolling hills, beautiful architecture, warm friendly people, vineyards, farms, food, wine, art… Why not, right?
So, it being Heaven, there’s this long rustic wood table, and by long, I mean really long. Like at the most bougie farmhouse wedding in Napa you’ve ever seen styled on Pinterest. The table is weathered and has a live edge. It’s sturdy, but there are no legs on which to bump your shins, cuz it’s Heaven. The chairs are comfortable but not at all heavy when you try to scoot away from the table.
It’s outdoors, and the weather is sunny. There’s a slight breeze, and it’s warm, not hot, cuz it’s Heaven. You did know Heaven is 78°, right?
The table is set with loads of beautiful glasses for each varietal. Crystal but sturdy, they never break, cuz it’s Heaven. The Pinot Grigio is refreshing, and the Brunello is, well, divine. And if you don’t like wine, well, then have an Aperol spritz. Everyone is happy, the drinks are fantastic and free-flowing, but no one is drunk, cuz it’s Heaven. The water is cool and fresh, and there are pitchers of it.
The napkins are beautiful washed linen. There are fresh flowers scattered in low mason jars. But no bees, cuz it’s Heaven. All the bees are in the lavender and rosemary fields down the path away from the shade of the trees that the table is under.
There’s abundant food, and of course, it’s all delizioso. It’s not the over-the-top showy feast at Hogwarts (although it does somehow magically appear). Instead, it is simple, fresh, and bountiful.
There’s prosciutto, mortadella, salami, soppressata di Calabria, you get the picture. You’d think there’d be yellow jackets with all that meat, but it’s Heaven, so there’s not. And none of those hideous yellow traps are hanging from the nearby olive trees.
There’s rustic bread, every type of olive, melon, and pepper. Of course, the tomatoes are perfect. Not those cold, pink, mealy ones—yuck. No, it’s Heaven, so they’re vine-ripened from that vine right over there. The basil, the olive oil, the balsamic—molto bene.
The mozzarella di buffala is farm fresh, but the parmesan is aged for at least 24 months.
Seated at the table are Miriam, David, Esther, Peter, Mark, Moses…you get the picture. The conversation is easy and pleasant, like a family vacation without the drama. Some folks are in deep conversation. Others are laughing at how John the Baptist—finally out of his camel hair outfit—is so delighted to eat something other than locusts and wild honey that he’s scarfing down the food and spilling wine over his loose white linen shirt. Elisha, who always had a sense of humor, is telling jokes that mock no one and are hilarious. Jesus, humble Lord that He is, is not at the head of the table, cuz like, why? It’s Heaven and everyone, by definition, knows He’s the King of Kings. He doesn’t need to flex. He put Mama Leone at the head, and she’s just happy to be sitting down after all those years of cooking in New York.
Every once in a while, Lydia, Thomas, or some other witness in the cloud will look over their shoulder and down. At us. Why down? Well, it’s Heaven, right? And don’t we think of Heaven as ‘up’ and that we are all ‘down’ here on Earth? So, they look ‘down’ at us—but not on us— at what we’re doing and saying to one another or not doing or not saying to one another. They shake their heads and turn back to the table. “They still don’t get it,” they say to their friends at the table, smacking their foreheads with their open palms.
Then they take those hands, tear off a piece of bread, dip it in their red wine, and return to enjoying each other’s company.
And that is my Farm Table Theory of Heaven.
© Aslan Housing Foundation