I have known the Confirmation program director of our parish for over 30 years. Not once did I predict a middle-aged oblate of St. Benedict with a Julius Caesar haircut would dispense advice on the art of risky decorating in the form of an icebreaker question for 1st-year candidates. Please stick with me. A picture of a giant wall rosary from Bethlehem is not the harbinger of a niche post one would think.
It was Fall 2018 and Mikey’s first Confirmation class. Introduction, stare, joke, silent teenagers. Then, an icebreaker. “If someone were to enter your home, would they know you are Catholic?” Eighty or so eyeballs blinked. Confirmation is the least exciting sacrament on the list for a jaded teenager: no fancy outfit, no perceived life change, and no sick or dying people. These teenagers and their sponsors just signed up to attend three years of classes, retreats, community service, and Life Nights for a sacrament many Catholics skip over. Surely everyone knows they are Catholic.
“What would scream Catholic if I walked into your house right now,” he pressed. A few hands went up.
“We have a cross on the wall.”
“All Christians have crosses. What would make me think you are Catholic?”
“We have a Bible!”
“Where? Can anyone see it and tell it’s Catholic?”
A few more hands went up. A few more eyes blinked.
“You are devoting three years of your life to receiving your sacrment of Confirmation, so I am guessing your faith is important to you. It should be the center of your life. Something that is the center of your life should be obvious to anyone, anytime.”
I have thought about that first Confirmation class ever since. I finally found what was missing from my favorite William Morris quote. An object can be objectively useful and beautiful without being central to who you are.
Minimalist rooms are useful and beautiful.
Scandinavian rooms are useful and beautiful.
Eclectic, maximalist rooms are useful and beautiful.
Any design style can produce a useful and beautiful room, but unless that room says something about the occupant, it is a box with walls no one can scale. I do not need to declutter until I whittle my closet down to 32 items, and I do not need a throw blanket in Pantone’s color of the year. I do not need English Country Style, or Dowager Design, or the Eccentric Grandmother with a Weekend Home Look. No one does.
I need the courage to make myself vulnerable with openness and honesty and a little risky decorating.
Welcome! Come inside. This is us.