Schaeffer seemed nearly desperate that women understand this truth. She refers to the Dutch, for whom "fresh cut flowers are generally considered a necessity" (98). She quotes a friend: "If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily!" (99). Our goal in bringing beauty inside is to ensure our home "is really a home ... and not a collection of furniture sitting in some sort of enclosure" (99). We all know homes like that; they feel dead. Schaeffer is worried that "the art of living together, of being a family, is being lost" (101). Just as we long to conserve the earth and be good stewards of it, we must practice "the conservation of family life" before it becomes extinct (101).
My problem with flower arrangements is the cutting of the flowers. You have to kill them to bring them inside in a vase. I don't like killing flowers. I much prefer them outside, alive on their stalks with their little toes in the soil, happy until their last breath. Is that weird? So I don't cut flowers; I leave them outside. This makes flower arranging problematic - haha!!!
Flower arranging is like ice sculpture; it's such a temporary beauty. You cut them, trim them, arrange them, place them around the home, knowing that they'll fade and need replacing in a few days. Other beauties -- a watercolor finished, a musical piece learned -- can become joys for a lifetime. A flower arrangement is a memory. It says: even temporary beauty is extremely important, so important that you should sell your extra loaf of bread (tomorrow's meal), to have a piece of beauty today.
One "arranging" I recognized was the breakfast tray. We do trays in our house! Often when the boys were little, Adam trained them to be loving husbands-to-be, by letting them prepare a breakfast tray for me to have in bed. It always had a little vase with a flower. But the entire tray was the beauty -- its "presentation." I hope that practice sank deeply into their hearts because it is a winning thing to bring to your woman in the morning!
|Adam recently brought me breakfast in bed, sans the flowers. I like strawberries more!|
Our table is a mess. Somehow, it is a dumping ground for keys, books, glasses, dishes, papers, tools, and all manner of paraphernalia. It's difficult to keep it pretty. Sometimes I wonder if it matters to my family at all. I seem to push against their chaos, and they seem ever to push back. Would they notice anything of beauty I placed there?
Schaeffer tells me, "Please try something in this area today. The only way to start, is to start." Well, tomorrow. It's almost time for bed now.
(Read other posts about this chapter from Hidden Art at Ordo Amoris with Cindy.)