It's at this point in The Hidden Art that we (any readers, but especially "Christian homemakers," since it's aimed at us) feel a bit or a lot overwhelmed.
I think Edith would say no, no, no, no, no.
This is supposed to be freeing. Encouraging, not guilt-producing. Remember the image Edith used of a broken body part in a cast? We are being allowed to express our hidden-art side. It's a reminder that we have permission. It is meant to allow movement, freedom, possibilities, especially after a time of feeling immobile, shut in a small space...in any way, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
But others may be living with little, maybe in a small apartment or a government townhouse. A landlord who won't allow paint or nails in the wall. Not much to look at from the balcony or from the front steps. Smells and noise coming in from other units, and from outside. This is the opposite challenge: starting from "underwhelmed." And again, a little can be the big equalizer: a couple of flowers in a vase. Something to contemplate. Something no landlord can complain about.
And this is the deal with the flowers on the table: we keep hearing that "nobody" eats meals at the table anymore, at least not all together; nobody cooks proper meals, nobody has time; and the idea of sitting and stretching out a mealtime together, well...that's the most difficult of all. Homeschoolers are usually a little or a lot better at this than most, because we tend to have more people at home; but even homeschooling families can get rushed and preoccupied.
So maybe it's not flowers and candles at all, because maybe you can't get flowers, or your spouse has allergies and the kids might knock over the candles and set the place on fire. Maybe your creative stretching in the eating space is just nice cloth placemats, or cartoons drawn on a chalkboard over the table. Maybe it's bright red or pretty blue paper napkins, laid out over the plates--I'm serious! Sometimes a bit of colour is just what a boring table needs, even if it's from the dollar store.
But think about this: if the table looks a little nicer than usual, and the room is clean and smells good, and the food is set out in a specially pretty or fun or appetizing way (that's chapter 8)...you see and they see that somebody cares. Maybe we will spend a few minutes longer sitting there. Maybe we'll even try talking to each other while we're there.
Maybe that's the why.
Linked from the Ordo Amoris linky for Hidden Art of Homemaking, Chapter 7. (I checked this time! It's the right link!)
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