Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Extra Chair Revolution

A revolutionary is a person who actively participates in a revolution. A revolution, I just read, is defined as: a drastic and far-reaching change of thought and behavior. Defined this way, I like to think about my search for daily flair as a revolution for me. It's a daily choice to find the good, the beautiful, and the meaningful in the rut and hum-drum of a life. And once I notice it, I have to proclaim it and act in response to it. I want to revolutionize the dark days; I want to let the light in.

Last night, a boy knocked on the door with little marshmallows and toothpicks in his hand. He invited my girls to help him build structures out of these materials.  Afterward, they were outside, running barefoot, playing hide-n-seek in the yard.

I cooked dinner with my husband. Nothing fancy: burgers, some pasta, some corn, some sweet potatoes. All of a sudden, the little boy came into the kitchen and said: “I've got to call my Mom.”

“Is everything OK?” I asked.

“Yeah. I just gotta call her. I'm gonna tell her I should probably stay for dinner.” Apparently, the kids smelled the food cooking.

“Sounds good.” I smiled. I love impromptu dinner guests. In fact, I keep three extra chairs on standby with extra place mats for our round table. Years ago, my husband and I had this policy that we'd always make more food than we needed for a “just-in-case” dinner guest. Every so often, a student or a friend will stop by, and as 6:00 PM rolls by, I just pull up the extra chair. We've never had to say we didn't have enough for dinner guests.

It's a hospitality revolution for us. My house isn't clean. The food isn't anything great. I didn't have to send out invitations or have party favors or anything. I just had to pull out an extra chair. Spontaneous hospitality for the neighbors is part of our lives now.

Having barefoot kids coming in for dinner and then rushing out for another game of hide-n-seek was my flair for today. I'm so glad I had extra corn and burgers just in case.

Living with flair has something to do with being a neighborhood revolutionary. It means having extra chairs to pull around a dinner table. It means having friends who know they should probably stay for dinner.


Lauren Kooistra said...

I love that extra chair ;-)

Sus Schmitt said...

Great idea. We'll have to fix our extra chair so someone can sit in it. :)