One of the areas where I score low on the woman card is preparing for and engaging in celebrations.
-she sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks (Proverbs 31:17)
Sometimes I wish there was a Proverbs 32, for the woman who can't seem to get it together but REALLY has it going on in her mind.
I started to get this mess going by typing out, "I like celebrations" or something or other, but really, honestly?..... I'm not sure preparing or attending celebrations are my thing. I actually love hanging out with people. Talking is my thing.
But gatherings, the kind with a lot of people, make me feel anxious. I find the sound receptors in my ears doing a dizzying dance trying to block out conversations while tuning in to the one I'm supposed to be having. And then there's the food that we always find at celebrations. I've always found Christmas parties awkward as you try to arrange microscopic piles of food; making sure that you get a little bite of everything lest you hurt the feelings of the one who brought the fruit salad. And all of this when what I really want to do is take the entire bowl of chips and La Suprema salsa that someone brought and go eat it in a corner without fear that someone will be watching how I eat chips and salsa. It's not pretty.
While we're on the subject of Christmas parties, I might as well go ahead and divulge my true feelings about the "Christmas Ornament" swap/game.
- I usually want the ornament I brought. I wouldn't have picked it out if I didn't like it.
- If somebody else picks out the ornament I brought, I worry whether or not they'll like it so I try to start a conversation with someone beside me avoiding watching the person who's opening the ornament. Because if they make a fake smile or comment I'll know. And as ridiculous as it is (I'm not in fifth grade anymore) it will bother me if they don't find my ornament awesome.
- If my ornament is not stolen, it means in my eyes that it was a dud. So basically, if I get my ornament, I don't want you to steal it from me. But it would make me feel good if you stole my ornament from somebody else. That's messed up, I know. Ornament Swap parties bring out the worst in me.
- I don't know why I get so worked up about ornaments because my tree, like my house at Christmas, is no big whoop.
I didn't mean to get off on Christmas. And by the way, I'm truly grateful to those who fix finger foods and doll their house up. Really, I am. And I'm partly exaggerating about my party anxiety. December is just so busy, it makes me anxious. Plus, my mom and many of my friends rock at all things Christmas and I don't. Period.
That's why I'd rather talk about Thanksgiving and the noteworthy thing my friend and neighbor does with her family every year. My friend, I believe, is gifted in preparing inspiring celebrations. Last year I learned that she buys a tablecloth for every Thanksgiving. She decorates the table and has the family write on the tablecloth something that they're thankful for every day. I love this idea.
So I bought a tablecloth at WalMart yesterday. It was less than ten bucks. Not a fan of ironing, I threw it in the dryer with the jeans or something and attempted to smooth out the fold lines. I threw it on the table with a bowl of Pink Lady apples, ready to be thankful. The bowl really could have used a cycle of jet dry and the apples will probably be gone tomorrow. But I had me a "Thankful Table".
I had planned to finish the laundry and then cook some stew that we could eat while gratefully gathered together, but after an afternoon with a surprise vet visit, meetings and forgotten homework our first meal of thankfulness didn't go as planned. Ready stew was left on the burner with a sleeve of crackers and help yourself instructions to the kids as I left the house on mission. Thankfully I'd had the kids write their first "thankful words" at lunch; my personal favorite being Pokemon.
So here I sit this morning, attempting to wrap my mind around "The Thankful Table".
I have a pretty amber-looking vase that I could fill with some stemmed pine cones. I imagine they would look perfect on the table. I intended on getting that vase to the table yesterday, but for now the table is simple. Sometimes our expression of thankfulness is simple. Sometimes that's appropriate.
The tablecloth I bought yesterday already has a stain on it. Tomato-based. But here's the thing. Either it will wash out or it will serve as a reminder that our mess-ups against a grace covering can be strangely beautiful.
Some expressions of thankfulness at our table are written in large bold letters much like a declaration. They're share worthy. Other thankful thoughts are sweetly unintelligible and can only be shared with God; the only one who truly understands.
We wrote our "thankful words" yesterday and this morning somehow the table seems underwhelming. I have it in my mind that such space deserves to be filled with gratefulness. And so it should be in life. Daily.
Our "Thankful Table" is being designed as an offering. But once again, I've decided, that God in His loving-kindness is always the one who gives.
Our acknowledgement of his worthiness matters more than feeble or failed attempts at thankfulness.
May our "Thankful Table never be empty, and never be thought full enough.
Though our Thankful Table may sometimes be simple, may we always long for deeper and more beautiful hearts of thanks.
Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Hallelujahs be multiplied.
-Mulitplied by Needtobreathe
Life is blunderful. Give thanks.