Sunday night we were scheduled to have our children over for our annual New Year’s Dinner. The meal was prepared; the meat was marinating; the house was cleaned, but then it happened. We had to cancel because of sickness. I was disappointed because we had a great evening planned. But I knew we could reschedule when everyone would feel like eating again! 😦
Now the pressing question was, “What do we do with all this food?”
We picked up the phone and began calling couples to see if they were available at the last minute. Amazingly, three couples were and the dinner was on again – only this time with a completely different set of people at our table.
Tom and I worked hard chopping, peeling and cutting in the kitchen. We talked about what we wanted to discuss and how amazing God had orchestrated the events of the day. Certainly, He had a plan in this change.
The table was set! The food was ready, and the candles lit. We hadn’t sat down all afternoon, but we were excited.
As our guests arrived we quickly entered into lively conversation. The couples couldn’t have been more different, yet fellowship was immediate. Three of the couples have been friends for years – the fourth was new to our sphere. Yet the wisdom shared as well as the memories remembered were precious.
We talked of our marriage, our life, our mistakes, our dreams, our failures. It was an evening full of sharing, each one of us, what God had done and what we had learned in the process. We spent some time praying together for each other and thanking God for bringing us together on this night at this time in our lives. It was a perfect evening.
As everyone left there was a quiet stillness. The beautiful table settings were dirty from a meal not only shared, but enjoyed together. The napkins which had been placed in the napkin rings before dinner, were now crumpled on the table. The soaking pots and pans, used glasses and silverware, all offered reminders that there was work yet to be done.
But I paused.
I was satisfied with all the energy spent because we had spent time with old and new friends. I almost wanted to take a picture of the mess – it made me happy. It was proof that having friends and being friends takes effort. It takes energy. But it’s an energy that must be rightly placed.
I remember in our early years I had to have everything perfect before anyone could come over. But God has helped me learn to redirect my efforts. Now I know without hesitation, it doesn’t matter what the house looks like or how fancy the food. What matters is those who entered our home left it with full stomachs knowing they were loved by friends who cared for them on this night of God’s choosing.
Changes are inevitable. It is in these changes where God helps us place our energy where it ought to be – in loving others the way we have been loved.
When was the last time you had your plans interrupted by God? Did you see the good right away, or did it take time?