Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Set The Table First

A friend told me something a few weeks ago that has really stuck with me.  "Set the table first, when making dinner, to bring peace to your husband."  This is something her mother told her, and I'm starting to realize how true it is. 

I mentioned this thought to Dan one night, who reconfirmed the validity of this statement.  He told me that when he comes home and sees that the table is set, complete with drinks on the table, he knows that everything is alright.  It brings him peace.

Peace from setting a table.

I have really been pondering this lately.  Any one of the mothers out there will know that the time between 4:30 until 6:30 in the afternoon is chaotic.  Loud.  Frustrating.  Anything but peaceful.  At least in my home.  So I have been putting this little rule into practice.  I set the table, sometimes with cloth napkins, sometimes with paper.  I light a candle.  I set out the drinks.  While I'm at it, I also light a candle in the kitchen.  Last but not least, I made a playlist on my iPod titled "Quiet Time".  Soft music that I can sing to if I want, or not, but that isn't going to just add to the rising level of noise in the house.

Do you know what I've found?

Everyone is calmer.  Yes, the baby is still screaming to be picked up.  Yes, the pot is still threatening to boil over.  Yes, the older kids are starting to get loud.  None of that has changed.  But it has a different feel to it. A calmer feel.

And I'm realizing something about myself as well.  When things are chaotic in my home, I have a choice.  I can add to the chaos by spouting my own frustration, or I can choose to set a different atmosphere.  I'm amazed at how well it works.  Honestly, the person it affects more than anyone else is myself.  But I am the thermometer in my home.  My husband may be the leader, but the level of peace is set by me.

If I am more at peace, I respond to things better.  And soft music and candles go a long way to calming me.  And knowing that the table is already set during the crunch time of getting food on the plates and the baby nursed and wanting to have at least a smidgen of conversation with my hubby brings a little bit of order.  Which brings peace.

My husband goes out every weekday and faces a culture that is anything but peaceful.  All around us are things clamoring for our attention.  Buy this.  Eat this.  Do this.  Especially in this time of Lent, I crave quiet.  I crave peace.  I crave simplicity. 

What is more simple than setting a table?  Fork, Knife, Spoon.  Of course it can get complicated, just look at the beginning section of any cookbook, but even a paper napkin folded in half with a fork on it is better than throwing things out at the dinner table last minute.  Or having to get up every five seconds because you forgot to put out the salt and pepper, someone needs a spoon, and napkins are nowhere to be found.

And my husband having peace when he walks in the door and sees a set table, because he knows that he doesn't have to worry about what's for dinner?  Priceless.


miraculousmama said...

Love this! Great idea Candice!!

Kate said...

So true!!!! :)