Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Silver Spoon

Mother carefully put down her Crown Princess Pattern silver teaspoon on the edge of her saucer and took a meditative sip from her Royal Windsor teacup.  “Did you know Alfred,” said she, “that I have spent most of my life looking for the finer things?”

“You and I, Mother,” said Alfred cautiously, “have always been appreciative of beauty and quality.”

“Yes, but it has begun to bother me just a little,” said Mother.  “Don’t misunderstand me, I still love the finer things, but there is such a thing as a sense of due proportion.”

Alfred took a minute to tamp some Captain Black tobacco into his new Meerschaum pipe.  After all, as Alfred says, “Pipe smoking is a hobby not a habit, and a useful hobby at that; it gives one time to think before responding in tricky situations.”

            Mother continued, “I think it all began when I was very young.  Growing up in the Talliaferro family was often difficult, and I have spent much of my life trying to live it down.”

            “Now, Mother,” said Alfred, “you know that has never been important to me.”

            “Yes, but Alfred, it has been important to some others.  Why, just the other day Mildred Hutchins looked down her very long nose at me and said, ‘I hear you’re Italian.’  She somehow had gotten wind of cousin Angelo’s visit to our group at Grace Whittington’s.”

            “I’m surprised it took that long to get around,” replied Alfred.  “Usually juicy tidbits go down very quickly.  But I wouldn’t let it bother you.”

            “But, Alfred,” said Mother, “Mildred Hutchins is such a gossip.”

            Alfred looked up at Mother and said, “Mildred has a mouth that could launch a thousand slips.  One of these times she will bite off more than she can chew.”

            Mother began to laugh, “I guess it isn’t really that important.  What really is important is whether or not my preoccupation with the finer things is really a good for me.  When I made Jesus my King on Christmas Eve something very important happened.  I may have been born a Talliaferro, but now I’m a child of the King.  That puts everything in a different perspective.”

             “It does, Mother, it does,” said Alfred.  “For a start, love has always been more important than things to both of us.  We have always appreciated the finer things, but we have appreciated love more.”

            “That is true, Alfred, thank you, and I’ve always counted on your love,” said Mother. “That makes me feel a little better, but still . . .”

            “Further, Mother,” said Alfred, “There is nothing wrong with the appreciation of quality and beauty.  There is a verse in Psalms that says, “Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”[i]  Father Goodfellow says that refers to the fine garments of the priests in the Old Testament.  Our son Jeffrey gave me an interesting book the other day.  Let me get it.”

Alfred bustled off to his study and came back with a book in his hand. “Listen to this Mother, ‘The celebrant of the sacrament of joy will appear in a beautiful chasuble, because he is vested in the glory of the Kingdom, because even in the form of man God appears in glory.’”[ii] 

            “Oh, Alfred,” said Mother, “That’s wonderful; and now that I have my King I have discovered something else; a sense of awe.  I am in awe that I am loved, and that really makes me want to worship Him in the beauty of holiness.”

[i] Psalm 96:9 KJV
[ii] Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World

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