The Surprise Party

I just had a birthday yesterday and now I’m 28. My sainted mother decided it would be fun to throw me a surprise party. I had absolutely no idea it was coming so it was a very successful surprise. I came home to a house full of loved ones and ample embarrassment. It was a great day.

And it has been a gift that keeps on giving because the party that evening shed my day in a whole new light. My mom going to get groceries. My sister insisting she take me out to get our nails done. What were relatively ordinary things were actually part of a larger plan to do something lovely for me. While I was at the party I found out more about the plan how there had been a secret Facebook group and how just that afternoon my brothers had cleaned the house from top to bottom. Everyone was thrilled with themselves for going about business as usual for weeks while all the while knowing this was in store for me. And I can’t help but think that that’s what heaven is going to be like. The moment we get there it will all make sense. We’ll finally understand all the pieces of the plan and how it all came together for our good, the sorrows as well as the joys.

But until that marvelous day comes here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Advertisements

It’s a Leap Year!!!!!

So I’m not going to name names but a certain brunette blogger with a penchant for bad puns and theology thinks that leap years are just about the coolest thing ever!!!

The last time a leap year rolled around I was in college and my friends and I wanted to do lysomething to commemorate the leap day. We decided to watch the movie Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode (we liked him before it was cool Downtown Abbey fans). It’s a really fun movie that we first saw together when it came out in theaters. Semi-predictable in that you know where it’s going but you thoroughly enjoy the ride and all the scenic photos of beautiful Ireland. If you’re a person with strong impulses like me you too might be tempted to book your trip after watching.

Anyway, to seal the celebratory mood we ordered a cookie cake from Campus Cookies, an organization whose name is too self-explanatory for me to justify explaining what they do. We chose what color icing we wanted and requested that the cake read, “Happy Leap Day!” because we are lovably corny like that.

So we were watching the movie and the cookie-decorated van (true story) pulled up to our complex. The driver came up to our unit and made the delivery. We eagerly opened the box to behold their masterpiece which read, “Happy Leep Day!”

All I can say is I hope the employee who designed that cake wasn’t a fellow college student…

Happy Leap Day!

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown

Today was a very interesting day at work because a woman came into my office and started preaching.

Unfortunately, it was not any religion that I found interesting. It was the religion of the new atheism, that secularism with a religious fervor, and believe me, this woman was on fire with the love of the world.

To give you proper context, she was discussing the previous evening’s Christmas party hosted by my office with a coworker of mine. She was so enthralled with the “good vibes” given off by the party and as part of her extremely self-important yet vague title (the corporate equivalent of a life coach) she was very passionately committed to the idea that people ought to give off good vibes and be given opportunities to work in places that give off good vibes. It was certainly positive support to the claim that in the absence of believing in absolute truth people instead opt for passionate commitment to whatever holds true for them. Which is why you just can’t judge, man.

All I can say to that attitude is girl please.

Because I’m not sure what party this woman went to last night, but the one I attended was not an inspiring show of universal love and brotherhood. Nor was the purpose of that party to relax and have fun together. It was Christmas themed networking, a show of solidarity in an office where most of us champwork remotely. It was quite the performance on a stage of glimmering (but tasteful) wealth, well-dressed bragging, and generous amounts of alcohol slipped into many a festive drink. It was essentially like a cocktail party before a wedding, except that there was a table with a delicious dinner spread. The company certainly outdid themselves by every worldly standard. It was a perfect fit for my boss and a perfect expression of what he envisions our company as representing. We’re good at what we do, we’re nice, we’re professional and yes there are probably good vibes all over the place.

Honestly I like my coworkers, I really do. They are good people and I am very blessed to be working with them. But everyone at that that party had themselves on their mind. It was that classic office networking experience
where people would say some jovial greeting and walk away half way through my scripted response to their greeting. Your surroundings may sparkle and make you feel important, but it’s shallow and superficial. Like a mirage in the desert that is appealing because it seems like it’s everything you want when in fact it is appealing because you are so thirsty. Thirsty for the real thing.

I know my inner Charlie Brown is coming out as I talk about how, amid a commercial Christmas, I can’t help but long for the true meaning of the season. But it was hard to hear these two grown women speaking, both so excited over an illusion. Because there is more to life than good vibes and networking and careers, life should be so much deeper.  Life should be about love, the type of love present at the Nativity in the humility, hope, charity, wonder, and joy shared by a family.

And being more “spiritual” than “religious” is almost a tragedy in my mind, a tragedy I saw unfold many times last night, because it detracts from the truth that God is love and subtly spreads the lie that it is possible to find the type of love and meaning your heart truly desires, with or without God as long as it “works for you.” It sounds well meaning and “open minded,” but that sort of talk is meant to keep you from finding what you seek by convincing you that you are fine where you are. It leaves you sitting in the mirage showing off how comfortable you’ve made yourself when the true oasis is right there waiting for you just beyond the edge of your comfort zone.

But since it is nearing Christmas I can’t help but retain my joy and my hope that love finds you this holiday season no matter who or where you are.

cb