Proper table settings make me nervous. While I distinctly remember the lesson in Brownies, I also remember panic moving in simultaneously. Did the spoon and knife go together? Where did the napkin belong? What if I didn’t get the place setting right?
I promise I’m not exaggerating. Setting the table sends me googling and worrying in equal amounts today. Not that it happens all that much, but there are times I’m sure I don’t own the correct dishes and I ought to own cloth napkins. You see, I’m more of a paper and plastic kind of girl.
Don’t misunderstand. I love the beauty of a properly set table. I swoon over beautiful china and polished silver. I appreciate the effort it takes, and the aesthetic it creates. I’ve just let myself off the hook for getting it right.
I’ve heard others say that comparison is the thief of joy. I can assuredly recall times when that has been true. I think comparison steals more than joy, though. Comparison is often the death of engagement. If I can’t do [such and such] like [so and so], then why should I even try? How many invitations have died in infancy because fear of not getting it perfect prevailed?
Personally, setting a proper table is not about the actual place settings. A properly set table is about creating a space for interaction and engagement. Relationship cultivation takes center stage.
Can that happen around a table the mothers of etiquette would approve? Without a doubt. Can it happen around a table set with paper and plastic? Definitely.
What’s my point? When we take a useful lesson and use it to disqualify participation, we lose. If not knowing how to set a table kept me from inviting others to it, I would not be the woman I am. My life is a collection of pearls of wisdom I’ve collected along the way.
If I calculate what I don’t have/what I don’t know, I come up short every time. Comparison might be the thief of joy, but it’s often the death of engagement. So, I’ll keep consulting Google to find out where the knife goes AND using paper plates. Along with it, I’ll continue extending invitations to my table and engaging with anyone willing to come.
Although I will persist with paper napkins, I won’t measure success in terms of someone else’s table. Table settings are conduits for relationship, so I’ll keep setting the table in hopes of cultivating opportunities to grow deeper with others.
#MomentofTruthMonday #EtiQUIT #Comparison #TableSettings #LifeLessons