catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 11, Num 10 :: 2012.05.11 — 2012.05.24



In my husband’s last year of seminary, our daughter Ellie was one year old.  The back sliding doors of our apartments faced a community courtyard with a playground.  In August, a welcome barbeque occurred; a gathering of picnic tables, people and running children.  When I ventured out with Ellie, I immediately felt draw to a woman on a picnic bench.  She was graceful, with kind eyes, and wore an Indian sari.  I was very hesitant to introduce myself to new people, but for some reason I went immediately to her. Her name was Mary and her husband James was studying at the seminary. Her children Vismai and Vismitha were very close in age to Ellie.  We became fast friends and because of the shared playground, we saw one another almost daily. They did not have a car, so I often took Mary along to run errands and shop. 

Early in the fall, their family invited ours over to their apartment for authentic Indian food.  Maybe it was because Ellie was our first child, but I clearly remember carrying our giant, clunky high chair across the courtyard and awkwardly making it fit at their table.  They, being gracious friends and utterly kind about the inconsistencies they witnessed in our culture, did not say anything.  I could see the amusement in their eyes.  One of us brought up the sudden hilarity of it all.

“You didn’t use high chairs in India?”

“No, we did not.”

“You didn’t use front packs, cribs, swings, bouncers, bathtubs, strollers, changing tables and car seats either, huh?”

“No, we did not.”

And we went on to have a wonderful meal together.  We would share more meals and more memories over the course of that year. Vismai and Vismitha were two of Ellie’s first friends. No matter how many miles separate Mary and I, I know we will always be close.

I think Mary and James probably don’t even remember that moment or conversation, but I think I always will.  It completely changed my perspective on what I actually need in my home, and what I just want.  I am more willing to make a piece of hand-me-down furniture continue to last in my home.  I am content to have a mattress and bed frame without a headboard for a while longer.  I am thankful for the pieces of furniture that make up my home. Before I add a new piece, I find myself remembering that funny evening and I ask if it’s really as needful as it might seem.

There is one piece of furniture my husband and I spent money on.  Our dining room table came as a gift from the first church we served and we added money to buy one in a large, farmhouse style.  I will always love the table, I think because tables and gathering around them are important. I like having family meals with my own family, with extended family and with friends.  When we visit my husband’s family in Iowa, we gather around the table to play games.  I write at our table, and we make crafts and forts and gather memories around it.  So many important conversations were born at that dining room table.

The dining room table is also where the Taneti family welcomed our little family in friendship, a friendship that taught me so much about what I actually need to make a home. 

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