what are we waiting for?

Written by PatriciaHunter

I'm a wannabe psalmist with a camera.

September 10, 2013

Hummingbird

I almost missed it, but it’s been one of those weeks, and the very last proverbial bump-in-the-road is a 2-inch incision with eleven stitches across the back of my shoulder. Rest and don’t get hot and sweaty, the doctor tells me. Down here at the edge of the hot and humid glades, the only way for that to happen is to stay indoors at home. I willingly agree to obey.

But a party is a party, and we’d said that we’d be there, and though summer afternoon storms rumble in the distance, and I tell Louis that maybe we should just stay home, he disagrees; so we drive to the city, through torrents of rain, and in the end, I couldn’t be more grateful.

We aren’t the first, but we do arrive early, and our beautiful hostess with her four little ones add final decorative touches to a room she’s transformed from ordinary to festive. Helium-filled balloons float as centerpieces over the red-gingham table cloths covering nearly two dozen large round tables, and a taco bar with pitchers of sweet tea, lemonade, and water are set up along one wall.

At the opposite end of the room, love-letters from family and friends to our hostess’ husband are clipped to a string with clothespins draped along the wall. I laugh at the letter from his college roommate and choke back tears at the one from his parents. We’re offered paper to write our own notes and to add them to the string of letters. I only wish I’d known to give it more thought.

Hummingbird bush

Our hostess calmly directs her young children to help her finish cleaning up and to move the baby’s toys out of the way, and she greets each guest as they arrive. She’s glowing radiant at the joy of it all.

It’s clear she’s been busy for days – planning this party for her husband ’s birthday, cooking and preparing for the taco bar since the day before. She’s given thoughtful attention to the sweetest details that both honor her husband and serve her guests.

We fill our plates and find a place at a table while music mingles with the laughter and play of children and a slide show is projected on the large screens that hang from the corners of the room.  At just the right moment, teenagers serve birthday cake to each of us at our tables, and our hostess invites us to watch a video she’d recorded with the help of a friend. It’s simply the sweetest thing.

With gentleness, poise and grace, she speaks through the video to honor her husband – to recognize the accomplishments he’s much too humble to tell us about on his own, so that we who know and love him, too, can more fully appreciate the man of God that he is. She tells us how he’s helped her to trust in a big God and inspires her to do big things. She only shares the very best that she sees in him – and we are in tears at the beauty of it all.

It’s like a memorial – with a slideshow and eulogies and laughter and tears, and fellowship and food around big tables, but the man we’re honoring is right here with us, and I wonder why we wait for people to die to honor them like this.

Hummingbird

“I must try and cultivate an eye for life’s mercies…
And life, while it has its ugly swamps, its vile weeds, and its sharp thorns,
has always its fair flowers to charm the eye with their beauty, or to fill the air with their fragrance…”
~ Rev. John Flowers Serjeant

Cultivating an eye for life’s mercies – as I hope to do with my camera – means so much more than seeing the beauty around me. It means opening my eyes to the good and worthy in those around me. It means believing in them and loving them enough to look past the thorns to see the flowers – to lift them up, to notice the best, to make much of and honor them.

Paul tells us in Romans 12:9,10, “Let love be genuine….Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Party or no party, whatever are we waiting for?

Hummingbird bush

22 Comments

  1. S. Etole

    The honoring of others is so necessary in this world. You’ve done it beautifully in regard to the hostess here.

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      Thank you, Susan. She was literally beaming with joy, and in the video she told us that this was the first adult party she’d ever planned. It could not have been more perfect. It’s what love and honor and respect can do.

      Reply
  2. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    This is so beautiful and such a good reminder.

    At our mother’s memorial, my sister turned to me and said, “If she were here, she’d be saying, ‘all for me?!'”

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      Thank you so much, Sheila. And that’s it…what your sister said. I wish I’d made much about my parents while they were still with me. I need to be more intentional about doing so now with those around me.

      Reply
  3. Sharon O

    It’s a wonderful question. Why do we wait till they are gone? Kind of like the option of giving your children or grand children your money now so you can see them do something wonderful with it, instead of making them wait till you are gone and they are older and perhaps don’t really need it as much.

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      That’s it, Sharon! Why wait? Let’s love on and honor others now!

      Reply
  4. ro elliott

    This is beautiful….I really want to celebrate those around me daily…speaking and thanking them for the way they are a gift to me and the world around them…thanks for this beautiful reminder

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      Thank you, Ro. Me, too, and I need to be more intentional about doing so.

      Reply
  5. SimplyDarlene

    Indeed, this is the inspiration I needed to get my own self in gear to throw something similar, not at purty, I am sure, but there shall be food and friends and dancing…

    Thank you for sharing this. I hope you are healing.

    Blessings.

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      Yes, yes, yes!!! That’s it, Darlene. It doesn’t have to be a party, but food and friends and dancing and serving. Love it! I’ll email y’all an update.

      Reply
  6. pastordt

    Beautiful story, lovely photos, sweet story-telling. Thank you, Patricia. (And what the heck happened to your shoulder? Stitches are no fun – so sorry.)

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      Thank you, Diana. It’s a long story, but the bottom line is that it was an atypical mole that apparently was bigger/deeper than they first thought. I was shocked when Louis changed the bandage. They don’t really bother me now unless I have to leave the house and certain clothing sits right on top of the stitches. We ate at Nick and Kristin’s last night and I wore my bathing suit over to their house. It was much more comfortable, but don’t think that will work everywhere. =)

      Reply
  7. Nancy Franson

    Sounds like a lovely party–and you took us all right there with you. Great question too–why do we wait to honor one another in these ways?

    Love the hummingbirds–they are very special to me and, sadly, appear to be gone for the season from this neck of the woods. Sigh.

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      That’s obviously what impressed me, Nancy – why on earth do we wait? Have a party! Make a special meal! Just write a letter, but do something while those we love are right here with us!

      Sorry about the hummingbirds. I haven’t seen them as often here lately, either, but it might be because I haven’t been outside as much. =)

      Reply
  8. Sandra Heska King

    A radiant hostess calmly directing four little ones… well, that caught my eye…

    She only shares the best. Celebrating, not criticizing. That’d make me want to stand taller.

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      Totally, Sandra. I was incredibly impressed with her grace, and how she lifted up her husband before his friends and co-workers. She makes me think about Proverbs 31:12 – “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” She didn’t even tease him in the video, as I might have been inclined to do. It was a beautiful thing.

      Reply
      • Sandra Heska King

        I’m so, so glad you didn’t miss it. And that you shared it here. 🙂

        Reply
  9. Lisa

    Why wait indeed. I am intentionally writing a letter of “honor” to each of my siblings. We are all in our fifth decade. I want them to know how deeply I value and respect all that they are and have been.

    Reply
  10. Robbi Cary

    And what a great reminder to ENJOY with our five senses, the gifts and service of those giving! Thanks for all you do to encourage me!

    Reply
    • Patricia W Hunter

      Robbi!!! So great to see you here. Hey, everyone, this is my Robbi – the Good Day Book Robbi!!! And what a GREAT observation, Robbi…to enjoy the honoring and being honored with all of our senses. Thank you, my dear friend. xoxox

      Reply
  11. Tiffany Stuart

    I, too, want an eye to see life’s mercies. And I’m often taking pictures to capture life in its smallest forms. I love your eye and I love birds, esp. tiny ones like the hummingbird. Keep on looking for love..

    Reply

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what are we waiting for?

by PatriciaHunter time to read: 4 min
22