Like many of you, I try to make everything “perfect” when entertaining guests. I want them to know that their presence is important; that I care enough to “pull out all the stops.” And, when hosting an event, I want it to be as seamless as possible so everyone can relax, laugh, talk, and know they’re welcome. Great, right? Isn’t that what we all want when we have people over?
Unlike special occasions with “special” guests, we’re sometimes lazy when it comes to the people we love the most. We often rush through our time together—not sitting down and truly looking at each other, talking and honoring the important now.
Peace-filled homes don’t exist for many. We haven’t figured out how to choose serenity over chaos. We often fill every minute with things we believe we have to do instead of relating to each other in meaningful ways. Don’t get me wrong; I know how challenging it is to work full-time, raise a family, and still be responsible for all the things on the “must-do” lists. I know that it takes effort to prioritize our real priorities!
My Dad died when he was only 67 years old. After his death, my Mom and I went to dinner almost every Wednesday night, wile she was still on this planet. When my daughter, Sara, moved back to the area, she joined us. If Erin, my younger daughter, was home, she’d join us. When Sara’s children, Lauren and Ethan, were born, they became part of our tradition.
Toward the end of her life, at our weekly dinners, Mom would have a drink (usually a White Russian), eat her dessert (she and Lauren loved anything chocolate!), and take most of her actual meal home. After all, it was never about the food!
Those dinners lasted for hours. We talked about everything and nothing. We shared life. She told stories about the past, held her great-grandchildren, and laughed. Could I have used that time to do the work I took home, clean the house, or watch TV? Of course. Would I have traded those dinners with Mom for any of that other stuff? Never.
What do cloth napkins have to do with this story?
Contrary to what it seems, many people think, I believe that your family and closest friends are precisely the people you should be using cloth napkins for! I realize it’s not as easy as throwing a piece of paper in the trash. I know you have to wash them (and probably already have too much laundry to do). But, what if you set the table with your best dishes, glasses, and cloth napkins and used those “special occasion” pieces for your most special people?
What if one of your Waterford glasses breaks
having a sparkling grape juice toast with your grandson?
Wouldn’t that be better than having someone give those glasses away
when you’re on the other side?
What if you use your lovely Irish linens,
and one of them gets a colossal pasta sauce stain on it?
Wouldn’t that be better than letting it sit
folded in that blue tissue paper forever?
What if you say a prayer of thanks before your meal,
acknowledging the food you have to eat and
the people you’re blessed to share it with?
What if you become purposeful about creating peace-full?
And, what if that starts in your own home
with a humble, white cloth napkin?