No more unlit candles!

1 08 2012

It was like a museum!  Growing up, our living room was a place reserved for special guests.  Our TV was strategically placed in the family room, beside the hifi; and that was the place where me, my brother, my two sisters, and my parents hung out.  That’s where we ate Jiffy-pop popcorn and watched the miniseries “Roots.”  It’s where my sister laid on the brown shag caret and listened to her Donny Osmond albums.  And it’s where we put our Christmas tree and opened gifts on Christmas morning.

But the living room . . . no one ‘hung out’ in the living . . . ever!  It just wasn’t a ‘hang out’ kinda’ room.  The tables from Ethan Allen had shiny finishes that were easily marked up and required coasters, and the bone china roses from England were breakable and not easily replaced.  The large, red pillar candle was only lit once, when it was first set on the large red candle holder . . . but only then to make it look like it was lit regularly.  But it wasn’t!  And the green, Wedgwood ashtray was never used . . . God forbid there’d be ashes in an ashtray.

Once, in middle school, I invited a bunch of my classmates over to work on a school project, and for some reason, one of them — who I didn’t particularly like —  plopped down in one our living room chairs and put his feet up on our coffee table.  I almost threw him out of our house!

So it shouldn’t be surprisiing that when I got married, I wanted to creeate just such a room in my own home; and much to my wife’s confusion and dismay, that’s what we did.  We created a beautiful . . . museum . . . completely with shiney table and Lenox candy bowls that never had any candy in them.  We bought a camelback sofa that was more uncomfortable than a church pew, and most frustraing to my life partner, we had candles that were NEVER lit.  (We certainly didn’t want to chance them dripping onto the table?)

Well, today, that museum is officially . . . closed.  No longer is there a room in my house that gives the impression that the place in which I live is free of clutter and baggage.  No longer am I interested in giving people the impression that my life is not messy, and that it’s natural and normal to hide my ‘junk’ in closets where it cannot be seen.  No longer am I interested in trying to fool people into thinking that the life I live, is not at all like the life they live, but rather, mine is better, cleaner, neater.

You see, our living room was all about looks!  It was the room where everything had its place and where there was a place for everything.  But I don’t want to live that way any more.  Today I want to live honestly and authentically.  I want to live more spontaneousely, and in ways that invite people to come in, put their feet up, and relax.  I want to live a life that is not there to be admired, but rather embraced.  And I want people to enjoy coming alongside me, and living WITH me, and allowing me to live WITH them.

Perhaps most important, I no longer want to live a faith that is all about pretending, and hiding, and wearing masks that lead people to think that if they just believe and do the right things, their life can become something to be looked at and envied.  Because in the end, I don’t think there really are such lives.  And the ones that I think I’ve seen out there, where people spend all their time and energy pretending . . . they are the ones that I don’t envy at all.  In fact, they are the lives that I most pity!

I’m tired of living in a museum, and I’m weary of not be able to ‘live’ in my living room.  So today it’s all changing.  The  uncomfortable sofa has been replaced by two recliners, and candles will be burning all the time!  Today I have a room that says ‘come on in and have a seat’!  Let’s talk.  Let’s get to know one another, really!  And let’s walk together through this life that is sometimes hard, and often a little messy.

So when you’re out and about, stop by, and we’ll invited you in!  And if you’re not from VA, and ever visit Williamsburg, give us a call, and we’ll invite you over.  I’ll offer you a glass of sweat tea (or a glass of wine if my wife is around!), and look forward to spending some time with you.  I still may be give you a coaster, but we’ll sit together in our living room — that place where we ‘live,’ and together, for just a few moments, life  . . . in all its messiness, will be good.



2 responses

1 08 2012
Cheri Mulhare

I’ll be right over.

1 08 2012
Carol Amann

Absolutely love your blog…have been a “creeper” following it for sometime now, but never told you! Your message always strikes a chord, reminds me of things I need to think about, and act on! Thanks Bob, you still minister to people from afar, and that is just one reason why I am still so grateful for you.

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