Beautiful Space

As I was sponging down my oversized island countertop, in my lovely new kitchen, dreaming of even more improvements, it occurred to me:  why?

Why do I seek such a beautiful kitchen? Such a beautiful home?  I have spent many dollars and hours with glossy, photo-sparkling magazines. lustily admiring luxurious  granite-lined, stone-tiled, large-windowed cooking spaces.  They are beautiful and there is a certain ‘aaah’ factor in a well-arranged space.  But does it really need the continuous improvement that I attend to it?

I love my kitchen.  I love my family and friends.  Welcoming them into this space is a pleasure.  I considered Mary, the Holy Mother.  She was similar to all women, welcoming others into her home, and through the adage ‘a woman’s work is never done’.  But, I don’t believe she ever created work for herself by searching for adornments to her living space.

The importance of my home and my kitchen is that it is a welcoming place for those I love.  And even for those I don’t love so much.  When these people are with me, the important thing is that I treat them well, with respect and generosity, so that I may share a glimpse of the face of God with them.

Picture of the Home, Washington welcome sign. Photo by and (c)2004 NaJina McEnany. Used by permission.

It doesn’t matter what my kitchen looks like, it matters what my kitchen acts like.  If I am merely polishing my kitchen in order to polish my image, then I have gotten it gravely wrong.  I should be polishing my soul through the worship of God and the pursuit of heavenly grace, and corporeal works of mercy.  I hope these things happen in my home, and through my kitchen.  I am grateful for the beauty around me, and must thank God for it.  But it is of no use if I do not offer this vision to others.



Thanks… a Challenge

Find one thing you are thankful for about each person you meet over the next few days.

Are there people you are NOT looking forward to seeing?  Maybe it’s know-it-all cousin Dennis who tells you the route you should have driven to your mother’s house.  What about the cranky checkout girl at the grocery store?  I mean, it’s Thanksgiving.  Couldn’t she be nice?

When someone irritates me, I try to remember this: God loves them too.

I know God loves me.  But them?  They’re so…

Yes, them.  God loves them as much as he loves me and you.  And if God wants the best for them (like he does for us), we should help.  We should see them the way God might.

NJ Turnpike northbound at Exit 8A, inner lanes

NJ Turnpike northbound at Exit 8A, inner lanes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cousin Dennis has trouble connecting with people, so he always starts with the NJ Turnpike.  Thank God that he is willing to talk to anyone and everyone, including crazy, deaf Grampa Joe.  Aside from traffic, ask about his life. You might learn something.  What was the most unusual job he ever had?  What’s his favorite memory of your grandfather?

IGNORE THIS - Present Credit Card to Cashier

IGNORE THIS – Present Credit Card to Cashier (Photo credit: nickgraywfu)

That girl at the checkout — how many rude customers has she seen today?  Maybe she has a meal to prepare herself, and worries about having enough for her family at the traditional Thanksgiving ‘feast.’  Your smile or kind word might lift her mood.  It’s worth a try.  If nothing works, pray for her.

The magic of this challenge is that it’s not about the people you meet.  It’s all about you.  The better you are to others, the better you’ll feel, and the better others are to you in return.  Like a good karma sort of thing.

Take the challenge.  Let me know how it goes!