Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Banquets, Brides, and Bubble Baths

(Written less than a week before the November 20th banquet)...

I wish with all my heart you could be here during this time. Even as I sit here, I am watching my daughter in law cut out her dress for the gala evening, our 11th Annual Ladies’ Christmas Banquet, which will take place, Lord willing, in less than a week. A lady in the church, who is a dressmaker, delivered mine to me last night, and as always, refused the money I offered her for all her hours and hours of work.

Right now, my daughter is in town with her nephew, and little girl, and my dressmaker, shopping for material and evening finery, giving out last minute invitations, and picking out gifts for the two little girls of our guest speaker.

Yes, this has all the feelings and emotions of a wedding, a wedding we hold here every year, the week before Thanksgiving. I almost feel like a bride, and I have a church and house full of attendants. And since we do this every single year, everyone basically knows what to expect, and how I will react to certain things.

I’m doing something different this year: I’m going to pamper myself. I usually work myself silly until about an hour before the banquet, and walk in feeling a bit anxious. But this year, I have reserved myself a room for the night before at the hotel where the banquet will be held. I don’t really know how this will help my disposition, but I have the illusion of somehow staying “separated” from the world, and arriving at the banquet all smiles, not having upset one single person, or without their having annoyed me.

But I’m wondering, “Does it really work that way?” I’ve wondered, ever since I was a young girl, it people who can’t speak somehow have a closer walk with the Lord. Many sins, and I’ll confess that probably most of mine, are committed with the tongue, through the words I say. Rarely do I ever go to bed at night, with the peace that I haven’t said something I shouldn’t have said…unless I’ve spent a rare day alone, and “stay away from the computer, Sloan, or you’re bound to write something that would have come out of your mouth, if that person had been in your presence.”

Anyway, aside from the spiritual aspect of my spending the last 24 hours alone before the banquet, there is the “pampering” aspect of this extravaganza. As I was combing my hair a few mornings ago, I noticed a lovely bottle of something I received in a “fruit” basket on one of my recent speaking trips. I receive these thoughtful gifts when I’m invited to speak to ladies’ groups. They’re usually setting on the table in my hotel room, and besides the flavored water, granola bars, and M&M’s, sometimes there will be a box of stationery, lovely handkerchiefs (I carry one every time I go up to speak), and once I even received a beautiful watch, which I still wear. Recently I received a whole set of goodies from Bath and Body. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for to enjoy them, but I noticed one of them said, “Passion…Bubble Bath,” and I thought, “Why not?” Now aside from the fact that bathtubs are non-existent in México, unless you build your own home, I decided to add this, and the accompanying bottles on my list of “Things to Take to the Hotel.” I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but it should look nice setting on the dressing table.

This morning, I thought, “Isn’t there a verse in the Bible that says something about our being in the world but not of the world?” While I believe my motives are pretty good excuses for simply wanting to pamper myself on this special occasion, I believe the Lord expects us to be able to remain sweet and calm, even though we’re in the middle of a storm, whether it be sudden disaster, or simply having to cope with other people.

“Lord, thank you for this special treat away from the cares and pressures of the world. But help me to always be sweet and kind, and understanding, even when things go wrong.”

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