This year all our children, spouses and grandchildren were here all week too! I cleaned the house before everyone arrived Tuesday, but then chilled out and let the mess and mayhem take over. No big deal, right? Who cares if shoes and coats are scattered every where or if beds were unmade or toys covered the floors from wall to wall?
Early Thanksgiving afternoon my husband informs me that he has just gotten a message from Evelyn (names have been changed to protect the innocent) wondering what time he'd be by to pick them up for Thanksgiving dinner!!! Wh-wh-wh-what??? "Um, yes, I told her I'd come by in a little while", he said quietly.
I'm pretty sure my eyes grew exponentially with every word he spoke as I tried to absorb all that he was saying...and at the same time trying to recollect any previous conversations we might have had about this family coming for thanksgiving dinner. Regardless....none of that mattered...what mattered now was what was I going to do??
Was drill sergeant Dana going to take over?? Was I going to bark out orders to everyone telling them to get dressed, pick up the house, get things ready for company? This Dana...my children know well! They grew up with her whenever company came over...and, sadly, it sometimes robbed us all of the joy of having people over. Was I going to make five small children pick up all of their toys and keep them out of sight because I was worried about what the company would think? This Dana would also have to shower and shave and shampoo (well, maybe not shave), put on make up and pants or jeans and a nice top for crying out loud!!
I made a bee line for the shower before any orders came from my mouth or before I began shoving shoes in a corner or tossing toys into a bedroom where doors could be slammed to hide the truth/evidence of a house well played in. As the water poured over my body, I talked to God about the situation. Company was coming....unexpected company, I might add.....I wanted to bless them, I wanted to do all of the things my mother would have had me do....but at the same time...if I did that, it would not be the thanksgiving our family was expecting and wanted.
My struggle was simple: Do we do it the way we do it....or do we change it because I'm worried about what they will think about our appearance and the appearance of our home? By the time my shower was over, I had my answer. I went to the closet and put on sweats and a tee shirt...and no makeup. We pulled in another table and chairs and set more places to accommodate the extra people, but didn't pick up anything else!
In the short time I had before they arrived, I had concerns about what they might tell people at church about the condition of our home and our bodies...but I had to let it go! I had to embrace the "So What" method!! So what if things were not perfect? So what if we allow people to experience the way we like to "do" thanksgiving? So what if I didn't have dressing or gravy? (I'm not going to lie, this was a big worry!! What would they think!!?? I did have turkey and mashed potatoes though!!). So what if ______?
I was also bound and determined to not apologize for anything! Now THIS was going to be super hard!! You know, not apologize for the way I looked or for the way the house looked or for not having sweet potatoes (my chocolate pie, however, was a HUGE hit!!)......and I must say I was sort of successful...not totally though!! I vaguely remember apologizing as they came in for the fact that there wasn't a clear path from the front door to a chair for them to sit in what with all the toys and shoes and coats!
Anyway, I say all of this to say, I have NEVER done anything like this before....I want things to be presentable, picked up, cleaned up for guests....but the Lord is showing me that perhaps my motive is wrong. Perhaps it is okay, maybe even better, to allow people to see us as we are. Allow them to see how we live. And, so what if it's not perfect!