Friday, June 4, 2010

Day Sixteen - Tablecloth & Linen Napkins

A very wise group of women at a recent retreat I attended taught me the importance of making things special for the people you love.  Your family and friends are worth the extra effort of laying down a tablecloth and using your "good" dishes and glasses.  Light some candles.  Use cloth napkins.  Put some flowers in a vase.

We have become a world filled with very busy people.  Everything is designed around instant gratification, multi-tasking, routinely rushing through our day as quickly and easily as possible so we save valuable minutes in order to do God knows what else.  It's exhausting.  Why do we do it--so we can find ways to cram even more activity into our busy lives?  At the end of the day are we every really satisfied at what we've done or are we constantly stressed because we haven't truly accomplished a thing?  And so our hectic lives become a series of blurry and inconsequential events that never really matter in the long run.

Tonight, I set the table for my family.  No paper plates, no standing around the food spread out buffet style and wolfing it down before we even sit.  I used my good dishes.  I lit some candles.  We ate together and talked and shared our day.  We used to do that when my children were younger.  It was the most precious time of day for me.  Somehow we got so busy that our family time got squeezed out of the daily schedule to make room for some other insignificant event.  But tonight was wonderful!  No one really noticed the linens or the candles (at least they didn't say anything) but the entire mood around our dinner table changed and in fact, everyone lingered tonight--staying longer than usual to enjoy the experience that had become a scarcity in our home.

My friends at the retreat were right.  My extra effort made a difference to our family this night and it all started as I lovingly got out my tablecloth and spread it across the table . . . and perhaps I brought them all back to a place of peace, security, happiness and love.  A place that we seemed to have left behind but thankfully we have found once again.

"Go home and love your family."  ~ Mother Teresa

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