The Unexpected Power of Nesting
by Sandra D. Bricker
These days, when I have a free Saturday, I invariably fill it watching Property Brothers and Flip or Flop marathons on HGTV. Is there anything more exhilarating than watching as the dump at the Once Upon a Time is creatively transformed into a wonderful and orderly Happily Ever After by people with the passion for choosing inviting color palettes, envisioning ideal flow between rooms, and designing place settings that complement the shape of the dining table?
I spent the early part of my life as a Marine brat. My father—a lifer officer in the Corps—eventually gave up his career in the military so that we could settle down as a family without all the frequent upheavals of relocation. Consequently, I became a nester. Every apartment I’ve rented, home into which I’ve moved, even every room I’ve ever rented has had one thing in common: I nested there. I’ve taken the time and effort to make every abode—no matter how temporary—into a place that felt like home. No white walls and generic window treatments for this girl. No indeed. I enjoy hanging things, painting things, trying things out against the far wall and then … oh, wait! … maybe under the window instead.
Being a Daddy’s Girl, my mom and I didn’t really have a lot in common in my early life; but the one intersection where we almost always met face-to-face was at the heart of a party. She loved to cook and bake, sauté and grill, simmer and stir. And while I never mastered any of those talents (even in the remotest sense), my ability to set a beautiful table and present the food in a way that even its creator never even imagined brought my mom and I together as collaborators of sorts. A love for entertaining—for creating an inviting environment where people wanted to gather—became the common ground on which we managed to conquer an ongoing battlefield between a mother and daughter who couldn’t have been more diverse.
“Nothing extravagant,” she used to say to preface the meals she prepared. “But it doesn’t have to be. Since the days of Jesus, breaking bread together has been bringing folks together. And if a table looks beautiful while they do it, all the better.”
My mom’s been gone for many years now, but I always think of her and smile when a group of people gathers around my table and someone comments on the flower arrangement or that one exceptional dessert display. “It’s all in the presentation,” as my sweet mother used to say.
That lesson broadened for me recently when I moved everything I own across the distance of five states on the leading of the Holy Spirit. I knew it was time for a change, but leaving sunny Florida for Ohio just in time for the worst winter in history? That wasn’t exactly the kind of change I had in mind. Still … The plan was a temporary one: I would put most of my belongings in storage and move in with my best girlfriend of nearly forty years. It wasn’t an ideal situation on the surface. Two adult women and two supersized dogs under one small roof (with only one bathroom). But once winter had its way with us here in NW Ohio and the spring thaw hinted it was time for me to move out, my friend and I looked at each other with similar expressions. Neither one of us felt ready to part ways.
“I know it’s cramped,” she said, “but I think it’s working out, don’t you? I mean, I don’t think I realized how lonely I was until you moved in and we started having morning coffee together and studying our devotions or planning meals. Why don’t you take a little time to think and pray about it, but if you’d consider staying, I’d love to have you.”
I remember feeling a little stunned. That wasn’t in the plan. I needed my own space. I needed a house big enough to entertain, to break bread with others. I needed a place to nest! I went to my bedroom/office (formerly her living room) to pray about my next step. I looked around at the combination of my belongings and hers, and I found myself laughing about those first few meals we shared in the tiny den (formerly her dining room) on a table so small that her gargantuan dog walked up and took a bite from my plate with ease.
That’s when it hit me. We’ve somehow managed to transform my friend’s small house into a comfortable home for two single-again women and their dog-beasts, at least for the time being. I mean, it’s still “all in the presentation,” isn’t it?
And while I’m at it, I do believe I’ve begun the nesting process in spite of myself.
Sandra D. Bricker was an entertainment publicist in Los Angeles for 15+ years where she attended school to learn screenwriting and eventually taught the craft for several semesters. She is now a best-selling, award-winning author of LIVE-OUT-LOUD fiction for the inspirational market. As an ovarian cancer survivor, she gears time and effort toward raising awareness and funds for research, diagnostics and a cure.
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