Living Room

Kitchen and Living Room

 In my kitchen, I have a white bistro table where I eat breakfast and have tea. I’ve said twenty-five years of mealtime prayers sitting in its black chairs, head bowed over its small round surface – different towns and homes, but the same kitchen table. This morning when I lift my eyes, I see cranberry walls, shelves with food and dishes, and an old linoleum floor. There’s a bowl with scraps for the birds and squirrels, and pencil lines on the chimney wall that mark the growth of my sons. Coupons, recipes, and homework hang on the fridge, held up by polished magnetite. Art and poetry live on the magnetic wall. I love this space, and I am grateful for the time I spend in it. There is peace here, and room for prayers.

This 1950’s kitchen has limited cupboard and counter space. There’s enough room for the necessary appliances and a good space to prep meals, but no room for extra gadgets. I can’t add anything new without subtracting something old; all the space is in use. I think this is a blessing. If I had a bigger kitchen, I’d fill it up with things I don’t need. It would be too easy to confuse what is necessary with what is not. I suspect peace wouldn’t fit easily into a bigger space, and too much stuff might crowd out my prayers. My soul has room for the Spirit in this space, and I am content.

My mother often says that what we own also owns us – the space we live in also lives in us. If that’s true, then Spring cleaning can be an exercise of the spirit as well as the body. What are the necessary things in my home? What makes a good living space for my family, fostering interesting and faithful lives? Room by room, over the couple of weeks, I’ll ask these questions. I’ve already got a good start on the kitchen…

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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