Now that I’ve worn out, I’ve worn out the world

Who is worn out? I am.

So I mentioned that I was a wee bit concerned about the party. I have never thrown a party like that before, complete with invitations and china and crystal candlesticks and borrowed tablecloths. Heck, my wedding reception wasn’t that fancy. So it was a bit nerve-racking beforehand, especially when a church meeting came up that a lot of our friends had to go to after we had already checked the date and sent out the invitations. At one point it seemed like we were down to two other couples, which was disappointing (but would have meant more turkey, I suppose).

For a lot of years now, I have struggled with feeling that I am not important to God. Last fall I was pretty depressed, and one of the big reasons was my job search and how badly it was going. I got to the point where I quit praying about the job, because I figured God knew I needed one. I started praying that he would just send me some good news, some sign that he was still listening. It was very Rilla of Ingleside of me. “Please send better news tomorrow.” I never really felt like that happened, that he broke through in any encouraging way. And that was hard.

Add to that that I have struggled for a while with feeling valued by my friends. I mean, if God doesn’t value me, my friends certainly won’t. There are a whole lot of issues wrapped up in that, which I have mentioned here before many times. I think parties aren’t really a risk for most people, but they kind of are for me. But Mike really wanted to do this, so I told God that I’d take the risk (because I think he likes us to take risks) but that I would hold him personally responsible if the party was a flop. I bargained. I whined. I told him it wasn’t fair to ask me to take risks in my relationships if he wasn’t going to be there to catch me in some way. Basically, “Please let people come.”

Last week was kind of about all of this – party stress, feeling like God wanted me to take risks but was kind of leaving me hanging, and being worried about friendships. I cried. I stressed. I bought a turkey. We made stuffing using Mike’s childhood recipe. I baked some pies. We bought a can of cranberry sauce (ew).

I gave up on the stressing at some point, trying to just focus on enjoying whoever came. Kelly and Scott were staying with us, and that helped, both emotionally and with the preparations. We set up the tables and unpacked my mother’s Christmas china and Scott opened the wine (something Mike and I still fail to do successfully) and put the bread out to rise. We got dressed in cute brown clothes and kept checking the turkey. (The turkey, by the way, did not progress quite as quickly as we had hoped. Stupid turkey.)

And then, suddenly it was party time. And everyone came, and we drank wine and ate Kelly’s delicious spinach dip. And since the turkey serendipitously took longer than we expected, we could wait for everyone who had to go to that church meeting after all. And we had plenty of food and I loved the way the tables looked with the candles and the china and everything just seemed to go so well. I hope everyone had a good time, because we had a great time. Last night after everyone left and we swept up the last Cheerio, I said, “Were you worried about the carpet at all?” Our friends certainly had been, because they brought their kids and, as we are childless, they kept making sure stuff was okay with us. Mike said, “No, I didn’t really think about it.” “I didn’t either.” I like that about us.

After the last goodbye, I loaded up the china that could go in the dishwasher (some of mine, but even though my mom said hers could go, I was not going to be the one responsible for somehow ruining her china in my dishwasher) and started doing the dishes while Mike took down tables and started moving furniture back to its original places. Everyone offered to help before they left, but we refused. For one thing, we didn’t really have cooking stuff to clean up. And for another, I finally understood why my mother always eschewed help when she had people over. Sometimes it’s just easier to do it yourself. Besides, it’s not as if the dishes were unexpected. We were throwing a party.

After I finished the dishes, I stood there at the sink, admiring the clean china and sparkling crystal spread across the counter to my right, and I felt like it was a sign. Everyone knew it was important to me, and they worked it out so they could come. God had been listening after all. Not because people came – I’m self-centered, but not self-centered enough to feel that way. But because I wasn’t stressed at all on Sunday (except for a few minutes when I thought the turkey wasn’t going to be done until sometime in December) and because that means he had nudged me to the point where he had helped me separate my worth from the party. And because he knew I needed a little encouragement, he tossed in a great party on top of that. The whole point of the party, before I got caught up in whether people would come, was to celebrate the holiday with our friends, because we are so thankful for them. And, in the end, I feel like we got to do that. After I got out of the way and stopped worrying.

Everything we borrowed is in a huge pile by our door – two tables, ten chairs, two boxes of china, a box of wineglasses, a gravyboat, a coffeepot, assorted tablecloths, and probably some things I am forgetting. I put all our stuff away and made sure the kitchen was spotless before I went to bed last night. Before I turned off the light, I looked around one last time, making sure everything was in its place, feeling like the queen of my domain.

It was a good day.

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17 Comments

  1. It sounds like a good day. πŸ™‚

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  2. glad it all went well, Kari – i have a paranoia of throwing parties – a fault which i have yet to correct up here in Maine seeing as there isn’t anyone else our age to invite (and I’m too chicken to invite older people who actually know how to cook! I just pretend I know how to cook)

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  3. I concur with Carla.

    Hopefully you’ll find friends like me who’re crazy enough to stay and help and eventually learn where stuff goes. A couple of my friends have figured this out and actually don’t shoo me away when it’s time to go. πŸ˜‰

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  4. I’m so glad it went well. πŸ™‚ How come I feel like I have to be married before I can have parties like that?

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  5. _steve

    Queen Kari…hehehe…I like it!

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  6. Kari

    We have friends who know where stuff goes. If that’s the impression you got, well I didn’t mean to give it. I had to forcibly remove people from my kitchen and make them stop rinsing dishes. Brian and Sarah were the last to leave (being childless = getting to stay out late πŸ˜‰ ) and they really really tried to talk us into letting them help. I thought they were going to knock me down and do my dishes! hehe.

    But, seriously, we were throwing a party. We knew that. We were prepared to be responsible for the cleanup. I took a picture of the pile of dishes on the counter before I started washing, because part of the fun of having a party is the aftermath. πŸ™‚

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  7. Thanks for that post, Kari. It really encouraged me today. πŸ™‚

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  8. and we would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids…

    it was a great party.

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  9. I had the dishes clean by 9:00 and the house completely restored by 10:30. It really wasn’t bad.

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  10. okay…we would have helped though.

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  11. I know.

    To make up for it, you can do our dishes every day this week. I will let you serve us in this way.

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  12. I get to pick how we serve…you can watch Harry Potter on our television on Wednesday night.

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  13. That’s good, but I think you should do our dishes too.

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  14. you had your chance…too slow.

    (but you can do ours)

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  15. Ive been waiting for this update, thanks for sharing it so movingly. I saw a lot of myself in that post, which was encourging.

    Also, Brian and Kari: you two sound like that one dishwashing soap commerical where it makes your hands softer.

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  16. I get $. 05 from Proctor & Gamble everytime I post

    Posted 11/22/2004 at | Permalink
  17. Kari, thanks so much for this beautifully honest (and beautifully written!)post. You are a keen observer of how God uses every circumstance of our lives to reveal our hearts, to show us what we are truly worshiping in each circumstance. He doesn’t do this to condemn us, but because he loves us so much and knows that our hearts will never be satisfied in anything (friends, recognition, jobs, stuff, etc…) but Him.

    Posted 11/23/2004 at | Permalink

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