In a masterful stroke of genius (one of Beve's favorite phrases!), we had another crazy weekend, punctuated with a rather glaring plumbing problem (think no water and the kitchen sink!), and just enough emotional turmoil to...well, to make our hair turn gray, if it wasn't already. Yep, just about your typical weekend in our lives. Sigh.
One of our good friends' daughter was married yesterday. So we joined a host of friends our friends have collected from all over the world. We were invited to a BBQ at their home Friday night, but just before we were to be there, Beve came out to where I was watering my flowers and said, "The faucet in the kitchen is broken." "WHAT?" "Yep. Doesn't work at all." Then I realized that with the day I'd had, I hadn't even used the kitchen sink, so hadn't noticed. He called Al, the plumber, and said, "Here's the problem. I have a broken kitchen faucet. It's 5 PM on a Friday, and on Sunday my daughter's hosting a bridal shower." Al, the plumber, who knows Beve pretty well, hustled right over. Thankfully. And while he was on the clock, taking out the old--dead as a doornail--faucet, Beve raced to Lowe's and picked out a new one. Did a bang-up job of it too, I might add. I didn't go along, because I was busy making napkins. You know, because I could...or wanted to...or at least would never use paper.
Those napkins were for the bridal shower SK hosted this afternoon in our living room. A tea-party for grown-up women, with plenty of fancy dishes from my china hutch that came from my own bridal showers or wedding or as gifts (mostly from my mother-in-law). It's fun to get out all the nice things every now and then. We're very simple people about ninety percent of the time, but it is fun to dress up the table with fancy duds, even if I don't want to wear them myself. SK did a lovely job hosting the party. She's a very capable, very caring maid-of-honor, and her best friend felt loved and honored by the event.
Yesterday we went to the shortest wedding we've ever been to, followed by a nice, long reception. A crowd of lovely, interesting people, very different from us, with stories. Oh, my goodness, the stories. Sometimes I think I've heard them all, and then...here's one for you. About twenty seconds before the bride and her dad were about the cross the lovely bridge over a creek and up the aisle between the chairs to where the groom already stood, the mother of the groom said, "I hate to tell you, but there is no cake." The dad, who told us later, said his daughter began to panic, but he looked at her, shrugged and said, "So there will be no cake. I say we go get you married." He's a great dad. You should have heard his toast. NOT a dry eye, let me tell you. These aren't believers, this family, but they love well. Sometimes Christians think that we have the corner on the market on such things, but we could learn a thing or two about marriage from such people as these friends who have worked hard, raised their children well, and expend themselves on behalf of others. I know God speaks to me through them, though they'd be shocked to hear it, and wouldn't believe it.
There were hard moments of this weekend. In the last week, while we've been celebrating one marriage and anticipating another, another close friend is leaving a marriage. There is much confusion, speculation, hurt and pain associated with this parting. But here's what I've been struggling with: almost no one has actually spoken to the person doing the leaving nor to the person being left. All the speculation, judgment, hurt, confusion and pain are being felt by people outside of those intimately involved in this situation. I've heard words like, "X isn't the person I thought I knew." And I wonder how anyone can say that. Of course, X is. Still. No matter what. My life has taught me that. Hasn't yours? I mean, how many people do you know who have really changed their spots? Really? We become more like our real selves with Christ. But without Him, we simply flail around, but can never really change. At least, that's what it has always seemed to me. And I always think that a person who 'transforms' herself was always on the way to it, one way or another. But maybe I'm just too much a Calvinist to think otherwise.
And all the anger I hear sounds about as far from Jesus as it can get. We must--we MUST--love those He loves. No matter what. Those who hurt each other too. We must love those who do the hurting and those who are being hurt. And, while we should take a strong stand against sin, we must handle with love and grace and mercy, those who sin. Non-Christians have license to judge and hate and hold grudges and pay back evil for evil. We do not. We live beyond the Cross of Jesus, after all. The cross that saved us from those very things. So no matter what a person does, no matter how hard it is to understand their actions, our course is clear. Ours is the way of love. No matter what.