When I was a little girl, my Nana–our father’s mother–had a certain piece of furniture in her living room that she called the “no no chair.” And that’s exactly what it was–NOT a place to sit. I remember, once, my brother Michael or I attempting to sit in that chair during a family holiday gathering. Nana swooped in to shoo us away from it, reminding us of its “no no” status.
Presumably, this chair was a delicate, somewhat rickety antique. So I understand (now) why we needed to treat it delicately. As a child, though, I was perplexed about the purpose of a chair that wasn’t for sitting.
Last week, my sons attended Cub Scout day camp, gone all day from Monday through Friday. In the quiet and solitude that the week afforded me, I read and read and read–catching up on reading I’d not had time to do during the school year. I also sewed a bit, had tea with a friend, and did normal chores of laundry, dishes, and brewing kombucha.
By the week’s end, I felt as though I were rattling around in our empty house. I enjoyed my time alone, but having THAT much concentrated solo time might not be as good for me as I’d once thought. It also reminded me of a “memory” that Facebook revealed to me a couple months ago:
From April 2014: Proverbs 14:4, “An empty stable stays clean, but no income comes from an empty stable.” (The Living Bible) And an empty house stays clean, but no ‘income’ (relational, spiritual, growth) comes from an empty house.
I had an empty house last week–and, along with that, less work to do during the day, fewer lunches to fix. But…I’m glad the day camp has come to a close for this year; I’m glad my boys are back at home during the days. Now we can enjoy the summer hours together, reading or crafting or playing Go Fish. The house will probably grow messier, and there will be more lunches to fix. But–relationally, spiritually, emotionally, even academically–more income will be generated here.
Because our home is not a “no no house.” It’s a place for life to be imagined and lived out, tried and failed, explored and experienced. Our home is for living.