The Attitude of Furniture

I just recently rented my first home with my (brand, glistening, sparklingly fresh) husband, and am counting the days until we can move in. I find myself sitting in meetings or movies, ticking through the list of furniture needed, and imagining the wooden floors covered in different styles of throws and sofas; creating an internal creative space in which I can select and remove as many variant styles as I want until I really make this place our home. And so on and so on I imagine and suppose and hope and form.

As particular as I can be about making my new home the “perfect place” for my husband and I to abide in, I have a disproportionate lack of attention to the home that I always live in: the invisible places inside–spirit, soul, mind, imagination and heart. There are so many ways in which I live and move and have my being that are not seen “in the flesh.” My armchairs, sofas, and porch swings aren’t the only articles I recline into. My thoughts dwell in places I choose to go; my emotions hide in habitations I make for them.

If the outer world–my physical house and my actual sofas–is a reflection of the internal world, then that must mean that my heart also longs for something beautiful, comfortable, creative, and personal.

My furniture hunt has therefore led me to read some of my favorite writings on this matter of “the inner home,” and they are of the ancient and inspired order, penned thousands of years ago.

In the history of the Jewish people, there are two most-famous kings: David and Solomon. Solomon is still famous as the wisest man on the earth (and the Israelite king who had the most wives). David, his father, while renown for his encounter with Goliath, was even more famous among his people as a psalmist (meaning he wrote a majority of the Psalms in the Bible, or “songs”). The very first Psalm in the Old Testament was written supposedly by one of these two historic and powerful kings, both of whom received many riches. “They” believed:

“Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers…”

What strikes me immediately is that the first advice given by a powerful king has nothing to do with outer riches or possessions, but about internal reality.
The images of standing and sitting and walking all portray a lifestyle; a choice open before any man or woman. The postures are relevant to something internal. It seems that there is a “seat” of scoffing and a “way” of the sinner that I must at all costs avoid furnishing my life with.

The original word for “scoffer” in the ancient Hebrew is “Iuwts,” meaning to “boast, mock, talk arrogantly.” At first, these terms seem vague and unfamiliar (who buys a mocking/scoffing seat?). Yet in essence, the writer is talking about not living a life of mocking that which is virtuous and good; providing a place in our lives where it is comfortable to sit in arrogance. The seat of scoffing is the allowance in my heart to mock what is pure.

When grasping for an example of what this type of “seat” looks like, I can’t help but remember the “Sandra Dee” song in the movie/musical “Grease.” Rizzo, the loose, popular woman waits for the wholesome, virginal, character Sandy (Olivia Newton John before the leather pants) to leave the room and then sings a song mocking her purity. This is the 1980s, technicolor visual/audio scoffing seat.

For me, this imagery of “seats” is incredibly enlightening. It makes me question where I’m sitting, standing, and walking in my day-to-day.

Do I scoff and mock when I ought to look with merciful eyes?

1 Corinthians 13 is read at weddings without a thought to its intensity, and I often sit in the pews thinking “are you kidding?! Love is patient, kind, not self-seeking? Love sounds intensely difficult!” I’ve therefore been reflecting upon the supposition that real love–a life furnished with substantial, life-changing love that (like the end of the scripture says) ”bears all things, believes all things, and hopes all things.”

I’ve mocked and been mocked enough in my life I think. We certainly are less in need of the cynical mocking critics which blogs and newspapers supply in surplus. We need more of those who won’t “sit in that seat.”

Imagine if every seat in your home represented an attitude or posture of your heart. Such language is, after all, where the word attitude even comes from; the dictionary defines the word as: a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.

So we must stop and wonder about what kind of home we are making in our hearts—that secret place that is the spirit realm philosophies and religions all try to approach and understand. It all can sound super-spiritual, but I am really suggesting an experiment of furnishing. Creativity for our internal parts, if you will. Let’s shut our eyes and ask ourselves a question: “Where am I living?” And let your imagination go.

For me, I see a wide field, skies going farther and farther back into an eternal expanse, oceans deep and clear with everlasting sights to explore…and I can also see a house: It’s me, my heart; my “inner” home. A place where I languish and rest where nobody can see. And though there is often an open door (for visitors) and a warm fireplace (my passion), I can also see what looks like a judge’s chair from a courtroom dominating one corner. An ugly throne I sometimes just sit in because I’m annoyed and frustrated and tired of hoping for things unseen. But I don’t want to buy the mocking seat–the cynical broken furnishings that abound across the country and earth. I am searching out how to furnish with faith, hope, and love. And let’s be honest: I’m constantly going to be re-modeling.

 

Photo Credit: decor8blog.com

Teresa has her BA with honors in English Literature and Art History from Vassar College (NY), was born in London, England, and is settled in Tauranga, New Zealand. She loves to travel, write, sport her grandmother's couture from the 1940s, and keeps a blog at www.teresaarcher.com.

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