Saturday, July 22, 2006
Years ago, our then-church held a Sunday picnic in the park once each month of summer, beginning in May.
I remember the first picnic... Families shared tables, so as we walked along to secure a place to share, I stopped at the table of some friends-- I was enchanted! They'd covered the scarred, old table with a pretty sky-blue linen cloth and in the center sat a glass jar filled with water and blue, purple and white flowers. "Oh! How pretty!," I told my friends. "What a lovely setting."
And actually, I was mesmerized. Inspired. Truly. I'd been on many picnics, but never had I thought to bring a pretty cloth and a vase of flowers.
On the next picnic, I brought one of the white linen tablecloths Tom had found on the curb, a white vase, flowers and something different--my favorite dishes, instead of just plain ol' paper plates. It was fun. Always, I've enjoyed being creative and a little different. And this time people stopped and commented that our table looked like a picture from a decorating magazine--like a table set for a backyard party.
The following month, the creative table ideas had spread like a good disease... A handful of other families brought their nice things from home to share with their friends at their own picnic tables. I loved it. Our church picnics were beginning to look like genteel, Victorian parties--well, kind-of. In our own imaginations, at least. And I even scattered a few small Victorian-times photos (more curb finds) upon our table, too, for added decor and conversation starters.
But that's about the time I began hearing murmurs from some of the women. They stood in little groups near our table and smiling, said to each other,
"You start something like that and then everyone expects you to keep it up."
"Yeah, or top it," another woman said.
"Right. I'll just be bringing the usual paper plates and cups. Count on it..."
And then a bit later one woman (who never liked me much) stood in the food line very near our table and asked, "So, Debra... Does the food taste better on your real china dishes?"
The people around us got quiet and looked at me. I sat down my stainless steel fork, smiled my most beguiling smile and then looked up at the woman and said, "Why yes, Tricia, I believe it does."
Heh. She looked a little confused, started to say something, then moved along in the line.
Oh, I want to enjoy my life! I want to create and dream good things with the gifts God has given me... to inspire others... and to never become so jaded, so bored, so average-seeking that I walk only the easy paths and never smile from my eyes. Jesus died to give me more than that... and may I always be searching for that 'more,' even during something like a simple church picnic.
"...I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." ... John 10:10