As I sit here and write, the wind is stripping the last bit of gold from swaying sticks outside. Fall has always been my favorite season, and I usually come out with a bang, changing up the décor, making way for pumpkins and spice and everything nice. Then, before we know it, a soft blanket of snow will greet us one morning, and we will embark upon the Narnian season of white once again. I’ve been more hesitant to embrace this change of seasons this year. Although honestly, I can’t tell you why.
Nevertheless, there was one Saturday morning, that I was processing. Processing the hard stuff, mixed with the goodness of God. Processing a messy broken life, made beautiful. And as I processed and let my body come into conformity with the deep work that was going on, my mind when to decorating a table. Is there such a thing as tablescape therapy?
I think there are times we incorrectly label unhealthy coping mechanisms as therapy. Chocolate for instance, has been shared in every girl’s dorm room in the midst of tears as a means of therapy, or perhaps more accurately artificial happiness. But, true therapy never masks an existing problem, true therapy lets us process to the point of healing.
So I found myself processing through beauty one Saturday morning. There have been times in my life where I have wrestled and discredited beauty as frivolousness, unnecessary, or even un-godly. But I’ve come to understand, He created beauty, and never meant for that to stop, since we are called imitators of God.
As I’ve been processing the hard things, I watch beauty unfold. First in my mind. Then on our dining table. That’s what God does, He gives beauty for ashes, and joy for mourning. It doesn’t mean that the process isn’t hard, ugly, and messy. It just means, when we give it to Him, He writes His goodness in the end of the story.
As I processed, my mind landed on beautifying a fall table, one that could be made with just things around the house, things that were already a part of our home. No money spent, no trip to the store, just the things that add to what we already call home.
At first I laid out a couple things on the table, a plate and a charger. My hands became messengers for a scene unfolding in my mind. I continued. What if I layered a neutral tablecloth with my blue linen throw I made earlier this spring? Then, what would happen if I used contrasting textures of silver and pewter against an array of pheasant feathers? And pretty soon, the what ifs became a beautiful table, and then I thought I might as well take some photos, because it turned out to be three dimensional art.
Then I stood back and realized, the what-ifs that terrorized me my whole life, became what-ifs of beauty; creativity that God started in the beginning. What if I colored the sunrise with variants every morning? What if I put a long neck and funny spots on this creature? What if I make the aspen’s roots all connected so they are one tree? What if I make some creatures to breathe air and others to be consumed in mystery under the deep? What if I made someone to bear my own image?
What ifs are the vehicle that can take us from the land of possibility to the land of actuality; however, if they are taken out of God’s context of creativity, they become shrouded, manipulated, and deformed, manifesting themselves in anxiety and fear.
We were busy that weekend, and the table didn’t get used for a couple of evenings, and my eldest son, nearing his 11th birthday asked if we could leave the table like that for his birthday breakfast? Of course! He melted my heart. I love that my kids are appreciating beauty and want it that way for a special occasion. It doesn’t have to be cheesy plastic and balloons, even for boys. (I mean, he did have a nerf gun fight and a Lego Ninjago viewing for his friend party, so he still is all boy, but he gets the specialness of a table set beautifully, as well.)
So we ate an elegant breakfast on a table layered with existing things from the house, layers of life repurposed, reimagined, and restored, becoming a story of a broken life made beautiful.
Blessings my friends! Thanks for stopping by!
Here’s a little behind the scenes shot, showing that things not fit for the table got loaded onto the side table in the living room. And I have a daughter meandering around the couch, and other real things, like a baby gate, to try and keep her from tumbling down the stairs…just keeping it real folks.