A few days back, my sister and I sat at her kitchen table catching up over snacks and a glass of wine. I’m at home there – not my home, but a home that welcomes me. I feel like I belong there, even if I don’t live most of my life there.
My sister’s kitchen isn’t set up the way mine is. Sharp knives sit in a block next to the stove, just below her plates and bowls and just above her silverware. Drinking glasses and coffee mugs live near the sink. Containers for lunch away from home are gathered together on the other side of the sink. Her table is between the hutch and the sliding door overlooking the back yard and deck. Things in her kitchen are in place for a reason, and their placement makes her life easier and more interesting.
My coffee mugs and wine glasses live together in the same cupboard. My dishes and water glasses are on open shelves between the dishwasher and fridge. Knives and silverware are to the left of the sink. Cooking utensils are in the silver cylinder next to the stove and hot pads. My dining table is in another room. These things are in place for a reason, and their placement makes my life easier and more interesting.
For me, Everything in its place isn’t a generic phrase or state of reality: it’s specific to tangible places and unique individuals. It’s different in my home than in my sister’s, and different still in the homes of friends and strangers. I can prepare a meal in my sister’s house and she can do the same in mine. There’s a bit more hunting around for the vegetable peeler and the frying pans take some getting used to, but convenience by itself isn’t the goal. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t even that important. When everyone sitting at the table feels at home, when each person belongs there, then everything is truly in its place.
God bless this kitchen and all enter it. Amen.
For more on this series, see “Place.”