Saturday, February 1, 2014

Guess Who’s Coming to Tea!

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day! When I was six years old, I wanted to give a Valentine Tea. I made and sent invitations to some of my mother’s special friends.

I used Mother’s silver teapot, creamer and sugar bowl. I put her lace tablecloth on the dining room table with lace trimmed napkins and pretty china. I made special tea. I made heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I put them on a pretty silver tray.  
The invited guests all came. Some even wore hats and furs to make it special. They drank the tea and ate the little sandwiches and declared it was a wonderful time! Through my six-year-old eyes, it was magical!*

Once (ages and ages hence as Robert Frost said) I planned another Valentine tea. I invited a bunch of moms and daughters to another Valentine Tea. I went all out with decorations, food, planned activities including making each little girl a special apron to wear to decorate the heart-shaped cookies I had ready.

This time the invitations were fancier. There were many more invited guests. I polished my own silver teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl. I cleaned and decorated my house. I put on a pretty Valentine sweater and waited for the guests to arrive. The time came and went, and no one came! Finally one mom and daughter showed up. No one else came. No one else even called. That was it! We had our tea for three instead of 23.

What if my six-year-old self had made and sent the invitations, set the table, polished the silver, made the heart-shaped sandwiches and put on my prettiest dress all ready for the guests to arrive? What if no one came?

The truth is that only one of the other 10 moms and daughters who were invited even bothered to contact me after the fact to say something came up not any emergency – just something trivial.
WHAT IF NO ONE had come to my second Valentine Tea?  What would I have done then?  WHAT IF I had picked up my phone and started making phone calls to the invited guests?  WHAT IF one mom after another gave an excuse especially some silly excuse WHY she and her girl couldn’t come? WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE THEN?

A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.”

18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, “I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.”

19 Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.”

20 Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.”

21 The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”

22 “Sir,” the servant said, “what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.”

23 Then the master told his servant, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.     – Luke 14:16-23

About that second Valentine Tea, I’m wondering how those guys in the group home a few blocks away would look in cute little Valentine aprons? OR how some of the guys and gals at the City Mission would take to heart-shaped sandwiches? Well, maybe not so much, but maybe I should plan for them the next time! Just sayin’ – You just never know who might be coming to the Tea Party!

*I have a very, very special mother who was willing to allow a six-year-old who thought she was pretty grown-up to attempt a Valentine’s Tea mostly on her own. It was the kind of freedom and encouragement that largely made me the grown-up person I have eventually become!



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