I love to set a beautiful table. It makes me happy.
But setting a beautiful table is the easy part. It’s a controlled environment. I can place everything exactly how I want it.
However, if I want my table to stay perfect, then it has to stay empty.
And there’s really nothing beautiful about that.
If I want a table full of love and laughter then I have to accept the messiness that will spread across my perfectly constructed space by the time the candles are burning low.
And yet – somehow – the disarrayed place settings and the smiling faces and the messy dishes and the balled up napkins and the good conversation and the dripping candle wax at the end of a community meal creates something extraordinary.
Something with far greater meaning, value, and worth than an instagram-worthy table setting.
I always find that I like the beauty of people lingering around a messy table after the meal even more than that moment when everyone sits down at my perfectly set table commenting on how lovely it looks.
I’m learning that the same is true if I want a full life.
It is always so tempting to want the highlight reel. A stream of picture perfect moments that demonstrate a life being well lived.
But a life that is merely a collection of pretty pictures is likely a life that is empty. Because to fill up a life, you have to give up control of your tidy environment. You have to add people and relationships. And people will eventually make a mess.
I choose to experience a life of love and laughter and friendship at an imperfect table strewn with dirty dishes, broken plates, and balled up napkins.
Because a full and beautiful life is created by lingering there together.