19.5.13

A Candle for Quiet


I can light a candle,
God can light a star
Both are bright and wondrous
Shining where they are.

 

In our house we have started a mealtime tradition which we fondly call "lighting the candle of peace and quiet supper."

It's common in Waldorf tradition to light a candle at mealtime and to accompany the lighting with a small blessing of gratitude.  When I first read about this tradition, it sounded lovely and quaint, but not something which fit the style of our regular family dinner table.  For us, it was enough to sit down to a warm meal together with a minimum of fuss and bother (if you also have children, it's likely you know what I'm talking about here.) It's also a fact that the kitchen table, around which we sit for every meal, is the only table in the house. This table also serves as a desk for my older son's school work, an art table for my younger son, my work desk and my hand-work studio. Serving so many functions meant that there were always at least two stacks of books (and other assorted things) on the table at any given time: library books, cookbooks, craft books, picture books, newspaper clippings, art supplies, and sometimes even my laptop computer (eek.)  But something had to change.  The perpetual stacks of books on the table were an eyesore, and with my two children squawking noisily, competing for attention, mealtime was hardly a relaxing affair.

Imagining a candle on our table at suppertime... such a beautiful thing seemed out of place among the noise and clutter.


Then one morning a few weeks ago, my eyes landed on a large beeswax pillar candle a friend had given me for my birthday, and I thought to myself, "Let's give this a try."  I spent a few minutes finding other homes in our bookshelves for everything and cleared the table top.  At dinner time, before I put food on the table, I explained that we were going to light a candle for peace and quiet. Everyone was intrigued.  My older son helped me light the candle and the little one demanded to blow it out.  We explained that the candle would be blown out after supper, but then there was still a bit of a quibble because, of course, my older son wanted to blow out the candle, too. Hence we have added a second candle to our table.


After we burned our way through the large pillar from my birthday, I bought a gift for our table -- this beautiful angel candle holder from Nova Naturals.

I'd be lying if I left you with the impression that our dinner table is now always peaceful and uncluttered.  There are nights when my husband & I look downcast, informing the children that the candle must leave the table for a few minutes because there is too much noise (this works -- they do usually calm down a bit!)  And I'm afraid I haven't held my commitment to keeping the table clear of books.  There is, at this very moment, a stack of three books staring me in the face (a cookbook, a book about Calder's Circus and a beloved copy of The Hobbit), but truly, I'm doing better!


Do you have any dinnertime rituals which bring peace to your table?  Also, I'm searching for a poem or song which we might recite or sing when we light our candle.  I found one which you can see at the top of this post, however, I'm wondering whether you might know any others?  Thanks!

11 comments:

  1. I feel your pain with the table clutter. Mine currently has amongst other things, a pile of papers, childrens art and pencils and my sewing machine. I'm totally going to give the candle a go and hpoe for some dinner time peace.

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    1. Ah! A sewing machine would add lovely ambiance to the atmosphere of the dinner table ;-)

      Have you given the candle a try? I hope your family enjoyed it...

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  2. At girl scout camp, we sang:
    Rise up oh, flame,
    by thy light glowing,
    show to us beauty, wisdom, and joy.

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    1. Those are very pretty words, indeed...

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  3. Beautiful! I love this tradition, and want to bring more peace light into our meals. Thank you for the inspiration!

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    1. You are so very welcome my dear Faith :-)

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  4. We too have a candle at our meal tables, it was something we started when my baby first started eating solids. It does bring something special to our mealtimes, despite the mountain of washing and other assorted mess at the other end of the table :-)

    I do like your choice of phrase and might add something similar to our routine.

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    1. I admire your ability to focus on the beauty of the candle and ignore "the mountain of washing and other assorted mess at the other end of the table," and I am not being the least bit facetious when I say this! I find the "mess" disheartening and distracting, and see this as a downfall -- the mess is inevitably there, but sometimes worth ignoring, in favor of beauty & light! Thank you for your wise thoughts...

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  5. that's a lovely verse and the peace it and the candle bring sounds nice too!

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  6. Essence of Earth
    Substance of Light
    Grace of Heaven
    In us Unite

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