The center of the house

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According to Frank Lloyd Wright, the hearth is the center of the household.

According to a quick Facebook poll I took recently, the kitchen is–or wherever food is prepared. One person suggested the TV room, but the overwhelming response was the kitchen.

I’m inclined to agree with kitchen, primarily, simply because my family gathers in the kitchen to cook and eat and it’s directly on axis with the front door when you enter, so we frequently entertain in it as well. Also, the kitchen is where most families eat dinner, and eating together–maybe not as a whole family [1] but still in some kind of group–is a very common thing.

However, I see the argument for the TV room. At the house where I’m living for half the summer, we gather in the TV room to watch things and chat about them. Since beginning my time in this house, I have seen lots of things I wouldn’t hunt down myself: like Game of Thrones [2] or Mean Girls [3]. However, we did watch My Neighbour Totoro one day and that was pretty awesome. Nonetheless, I really enjoy getting a chance to just hang out with my housemates, even if I don’t often approve of their taste. But that’s a younger-generation thing to do, to gather in front of the TV, as far as I know. If we eat dinner as a house, though, we eat in the kitchen. It’s still a gathering place.

It makes sense for the place where bread is broken together to be the center of the house. In a sense, it’s the center of the Faith–the Eucharist [4]. House/family dinner is a chance for everyone to catch up with each other. The Eucharist is a chance for all the faithful to pray together, offering their prayers for each other. Because the Eucharistic Sacrifice exists outside of harmonic/monotonous time as we know it but is rather always happening at every moment, every time we witness it we are glimpsing the community of Heaven–and catching up with our heavenly Family. I can go to Mass on Saturday night and I will be praying with my friend who attends Mass on Sunday morning. We are united beyond time and space.

1. It’s a sad thing that many families don’t eat all together any more.

2. My best friend from high school calls it Boobs and Dragons. I’d be more inclined to call it Boobs and Violence, since I’m only in it for the dragons and they really don’t show up often enough to make it worthwhile.

3. Avoided this like the plague because I’d had horrific experiences during middle school. Lots of cultural references make sense now but it wasn’t all that good.

4. I know it’s MUCH more than just breaking bread together–but the communal meal is still a valid aspect, albeit played up way too much by feel-goods.

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