Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Life is a Celebration

While I was waiting for a doctor's appointment, I happened to pick up a magazine (from 2007, of course) to flip through and ran across an astonishing essay by Dagny Scott Barrios. After her mother died, Dagny helped her father go through her things in the house. She came across her grandmother's china, lovingly wrapped and shut away in a dark cabinet. She pulled out a few pieces and began unwrapping them to use for the next meal.

"Not those," her father protested. "Those are for..." But he stopped speaking because the special occasion those dishes were saved for would never come now.

Dagny owns the dishes now and uses them regularly for simple meals, like roast chicken and sweet potatoes. She writes so eloquently:
Because always savings one's best things for a better day, a different day, carries with it a judgment: that the life you're living right now doesn't count; that it isn't good enough. And I've decided it is.
I have a set of special antique china, too, which Himself and I spied at an antique shop in Tennessee. Both of us admired it, and he secretly made a trip back there a few weeks afterward to buy the set for me for Christmas. We don't use most of the pieces regularly because they have to be hand washed, and I don't want to face that chore too often. But the girls do use the cups and saucers for tea (I prefer a mug), and I lovingly wash them afterward before placing them back on the display shelves of my china cabinet.

Life is worth celebrating, and one of the ways we can bring joy into our days is to use our cherished and beautiful things, our best things. And breathe a word of thanks every time.


  1. Ellen...I'm honest. I am very moved.
    Your picture is BEAUTIFUL, but the true beauty is that you painted with your words.
    Thanks for enriching me, your husband's secret visit back to the store to get you that set is amazing.
    I enjoy your story telling and how you narrate your special every day life.

  2. My grandmother had her good wedding dishes in a display cabinet. I'll never forget one summer when two cousins and myself were visiting for VBS week, she took out her good dishes, and served mac and cheese and beenie weeies and poured Cool-aid into the cut glass goblets. Fine dining at it's best.

  3. Ellen, if we had good china, we'd use it! Actually I do have a Poole Pottery teaset that I love, though it's modern, and I use it all the time. I do have it on show also, but you're right.
    The big day will never come if you don't let it!


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