“You are having dinner guests – I won’t stay long.”
My neighbor stopped by for a visit. She saw both my dining room and breakfast room tables were fully set. Her natural conclusion surprised me. “Oh, no, I am not expecting anyone – I just keep the tables set because I think it is prettier that way.”
If you walk into my house, the table settings will change seasonally. They look cheerful, inviting, and expectant. But rarely are the plates filled with food, the glasses holding sparkling drinks, or the napkins unfolded from their gala shapes. My tables tell a story – a make believe tale.
As I watch HGTV the “reveal” always includes a professional staging which introduces the potential buyer to the world as it could be in that house. You see active families, or energetic singles pursuing interesting lifestyles. As people view the homes they find themselves picture themselves inside the “storyboard.” I often wonder how they feel when they open their recently purchased home and the dream they bought has been packed up and hauled off in the stager vans.
My neighbor’s words made me think about my own home. And then my life. I love table settings (as did my Mom) and I love playing house ( as did my Mom). But my travel schedule, and my singular lifestyle don’t allow for a houseful of happy diners often. However, I like to think this is the way I live – the potential is there… the picture is there.
The question then arises… how often do we stage a life rather than engaging in one? Too often we dress the part, even talk the part, but actually never play the part. We can make our lives look interesting, challenging, and fun. But when the curtains are pulled, sometimes it is more staging than engaging.
My challenge to myself: invite real, living human beings to sit in those chairs, unfold those napkins, and fill the plates with food, gathering together with laughter, conversation, and engagement. I want to make the picture real in 2017.