Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sunday Afternoon Tea - What does your bookshelf and your house say about you?
I was watching the Kentucky Derby yesterday as Justify crossed the finish line on a muddy track, seemingly with no effort at all. His jockey thanked his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the win and while I'm certain there were people who rolled their eyes... we can rest assured it was a combination of his God given abilities and the horse that brought about the victory.
That horse was born to run. No doubt about it. Even on a muddy, sloppy track... Justify ran like the wind and his jockey knew exactly the time to hold back and then to let him fly (so to speak).
It has been said that to really know the interests of a person, look through the books on their shelves at home. I would also say that for someone who thinks they have no gifts... look through your book shelves. What do they say about you?
I expect both the owner and jockey of a million dollar Derby horse have quite a lot of books about horses. They have artwork of horses on their walls. Their friends are most likely horse people... and horses. We could walk through the front door and know instantly that these people lived with and for horses.
My personal library has changed a little through the years but some books have remained the same. For instance, I have had shelves full of parenting books, homeschooling books, quilting books, and other interests which no longer take front and center. My kids are grown, my homeschooling books have been passed on, as were quilting books when I decided that interest was in the past.
The fact that I continue to have numerous bookshelves throughout the house will tell you that a passionate reader continues to make this house a home. Which can often be a hint that perhaps someone who writes also resides in the home as writers tend to be readers.
Numerous cookbooks indicate a love of cooking although honestly... I have cookbooks I love to read that have never been in any danger of food stains as I never actually cook from them. Some cookbooks these days read like novels about cooks and cooking.
The ratio of nonfiction to fiction used to show a primary interest in nonfiction but that has changed throughout the years. Although I do think nonfiction books still come out ahead in the total count. If one cared to take the time to actually count books.
I still have a lot of books about history, especially 18th Century America, biographies of interesting people, books about theology and the Christian life, books about Great Britain and customs from the Mother Country, books about gardening, and even books about crafting and making art.
If you were to look through my novels, you would find very few modern authors. Instead many of the novels are from the mid-20th century and earlier. I like well written stories by those who love putting together words. Those novelists whose prose can be considered poetry and who create images of Beauty in people and places.
My bookshelves tell a story of who I am, perhaps not a true snapshot of today as there are books left over from past interests and passions that were left behind for many reasons... from simply the passage of time to the lack of health today. However, these interests are still in the story of one's life.
If I were to walk in your home having never met you... what would it tells me? Is your home a true reflection of who you are? Would there be any hints of where you have been and where you are going? Would your home be a reflection of His Beauty?
I don't think it is all about money, either. I have been in very expensive homes that are not at all warm and cozy even though the owners could afford just about anything to add warmth. I have wondered if they were completely decorated by a professional to make the house look stylish... with no hints of the personality of the people who lived there.
I like houses that when one walks through the front door, they know they are in a home where life is being lived... where His Story is in process for each individual. I like houses cluttered with bookshelves and stacks of books and books on side tables ready to be picked up when time permits.
I like houses where the making of art is in process and pet hair needs to be brushed off before a guest can sit down (a warning to allergy suffers in my house). I love it when my house is clean and decluttered but I also have to remind myself that people are actually living their allotted days in these rooms. People tend to make messes.
Have you ever walked or driven by a house many times and been curious about the people who live there? There is a house on the way to campus that is painted periwinkle. There is another house near it that has a perennial English garden as a front yard. Each time I drive past these houses, I am curious as to their inhabitants.
What kind of person paints their home a bright periwinkle and who plants an English garden instead of a lawn? It makes me curious as to their bookshelves and their kitchens and do they have pets and what the days of their lives look like. Interesting houses... interesting people.
I admit when company is coming, I am very happy to get my house in order and have it look uncluttered and pretty. I loved it when I would visit my daughter, who has such a gift of decorating (she even has a degree in interior design). She would open the door and show me around the house and how pretty everything would look. Then she let life happen as usual and with five children, it didn't stay that way. Although it may have become cluttered but the Beauty remained.
So... what would your house say about you if we came to visit? Does it give a glimpse of the person God created you to become? Would we be able to guess your passions, what makes you wake up each morning? Besides a teething baby?
Is there an organic garden in the backyard or a chicken coop... even in an urban area? Do you grow lots of flowers to cut for bouquets? Are there red geraniums on the porch or pots of herbs? Perhaps you prefer the excitement of city living and you have filled your apartment with books and art and a big table to show hospitality?
I have talked to people who have said they don't know that God has gifted them with anything. I would say your bookshelves and the way you decorate your home probably contain hints of your God given gifts and interests.
Not to mention, if you painted your house periwinkle, I'd love to meet you someday. Just curious about the creative person who lives there.
Image: Time for Reading by Judy Gibson