Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We Do It For Love

            Polished Silver
  I have been polishing silver since 7:15 this morning. I am taking a well-deserved break. I have tried every silver cleaning product known to man, but the tarnish has been oh so busy doing its thing. Why am I cleaning silver on a Wednesday? Trust me that it's not because I am obsessed with clean silver or really anything that pertains to the word clean. Some other ladies and I are hosting a bridal brunch on Saturday, that's why. It's for a bride from Texas we have never met. So why in the world am I cleaning silver and entertaining for a girl I don't really know? She is the bride-to-be of a dear friend's son, that's why. And in the South you do those things. You entertain because you love someone. It's part of our culture. You drag out your finest and spit and polish everything to make it just so. It's not because you are trying to impress. Because if you really looked around you would notice that this home of mine is far, far, far from a place where perfection resides. I also gave up trying to impress a long time ago. In my humble opinion it never works. This is my house. It is where we really live. We have clutter in the corners. And dust bunnies under the sofa. And a few stray dog hairs floating in the air, but I promise I will vacuum carefully every day this week so that the dog hair will not get on anybody. I will probably leave the dust bunnies right where they are, but I don't think the bride will notice a few of them hiding under the sofa. But I will definitely make an effort with the bathrooms and the dog hair, even though I hate cleaning. Does that make you feel any better?
    A few of my entertaining concessions also require that I remove the clutter and the sewing machine from the kitchen table where they have taken up semi-permanent residence, but I have learned to leave the rest of my house as is. Why not make it more respectable, more perfect? I can tell you why, if I start on this process of making things look good for the party, where do I stop? I spent most of my life being an approval driven individual, so I have learned the hard way that I have to draw a boundary somewhere. Otherwise, I begin to suffer from the "never-enough" principle. You know that monster. She runs with her other buddy, the green-eyed one. She makes you feel as though you can never do it well enough, or good enough or perfectly enough. She robs you of your peace, your joy and your patience (with yourself). She makes you miserable. I should know. She and I kept company for a number of years. I felt like she was sitting on my shoulder when I cleaned my bathrooms, or looked at my outdated furnishings and my tired upholstery, not to mention my clutter and my mess. And if I dared to look in the mirror, she brought out the big guns and whacked me in the face. Miss Never Enough is nothing but critical, in fact critical is her middle name.
   Little by little I learned to let go of my relationship with her. The chains starting really coming off when I began to open my home on a weekly basis for my Bible Study. It meant letting people see how I really lived and that in turn meant letting people see who I really was. Scary stuff. But oh so freeing. So I am polishing silver because I want to honor this bride of this groom whose mother is a dear dear friend, but I am not painting scuffed woodwork, cleaning carpets, redecorating my house or getting rid of all of my clutter.
    What I really desire is for the bride to feel welcomed and honored and to know that we are excited to get to know her. I also want her to know that her future mother-in-law is very special to a lot of people. This friend of mine helped me so much when my own daughter married, and I was able to enjoy the wedding in large part because of her sacrifice of love for me on the wedding day.
   So I do this for love, and while I am polishing silver I am keeping Miss Never Enough at bay with this glorious scripture: It is for freedom in Christ that you have been set free. Therefore do not take up yourselves a yoke of slavery. No siree. I am walking in the freedom that is mine in Christ. Freedom to open my home to a family from Texas, welcome them with the love of Christ, and let them see some real people. I want to be a blessing to them, much as I have been blessed. However, I sure do hope they don't look too closely in the corners or come away covered in dog hair!

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