Thursday, September 10, 2009

The tale of the mussar chairs

Two summers ago we really needed to get new chairs because the old ones were literally disintegrating one by one. Every week I found myself borrowing my neighbor's folding chairs. Finally at a moving sale I saw a set that I liked and the price was right. And so we became the proud owners of really beautiful, aristocratic, antique looking chairs. They weren't new but they were lovely and extremely comfortable. Even from a purely aesthetic point of view I was really enjoying these chairs. When a friend of mine saw them she said that I'd better cover them with plastic because the kids will just destroy them in no time but with plastic they can be preserved in all their glory for a long long time. I must say I did entertain the thought for about a minute but then I decided against it. I don't like plastic covered chairs and the kids would be more comfortable without it but the main reason I decided not to was something else. Being human we tend to get attached to our possessions and I wanted to make sure that I should remember that no matter how beautiful and fancy, human beings are more important than chairs. Things, even very beautiful things (and I do love beautiful things) are just that, things. Things are there mostly for a utilitarian purpose, not as a status symbol or a slave driver. It's been over a year and yes these chairs have seen plenty of spills and wild play, they've been through a lot of wear and tear and may be they won't last through the kids' childhood and into my retirement. There will be other chairs and there will be other sales but the kids will only be little once so let them play and spill even if it makes me cringe now and then.


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