"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves 'who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?'
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."
Indeed the tea party and all the anxiety that went along with it is over. It was a long week. I spent time in fear and one night I felt incredibly sad. Yet, in the end I let things happen. I can't say that I actually relaxed until about 5 minutes after the party started, but I was able to let people help, take suggestions as well as compliments, feel proud, and enjoy seeing my vision ("my" being used very lightly as I believe it was divinely inspired) becoming a place of faith and fellowship. Nota to mention a room full of pretty ladies dressed up and sipping tea from china cups.
To those of you who reassured me that this would be the case once I got myself out of the way, I say thank you. I can't promise that I won't need the same encouragement next time. Still I think the words sunk in.
Besides hosting a party, and all that entails, there were personalities to deal with. I worried that I had said or done things to hurt someone's feelings, or caused them to be angry with me. I pleaded with others not to say something to someone in an effort to ward off a possible eruption. This may be my biggest coup, because I stuck to my guns on this one and in the end it turned out perfectly. Yeh, the Divine Tea Drinker was watching over us.
One thing I was not quiet prepared for was the wave of sadness that washed over me when I dug through the closet and unwrapped Mom's tea set. I've used it since she passed away. I expected it to be like unwrapping Christmas ornaments after getting the boxes down from the attic. You know that thrilling feeling of memories from the past and anticipation for the future. Instead it was like a punch in the gut. I sat with a sugar bowl in my lap as Keywest Johnnie looked through Grammy's silver and tried to guess the value. I looked at the tray given to my parents as a wedding present and had, as if for the first time when in reality it was about the gazillionth time, a realization that they are gone - for good. I went to church looking for comfort but barely made it home before a torrential rain of tears engulfed me. I reached out to the one person who I thought might be able to tell me what I wanted to hear... that I wasn't crazy, that grief does come in waves, that it might always hurt, but the hurt isn't always as bad, that it was okay to cry. Thanks Weneki.
So to the tea party.
- I think there were about 60 people present - 59 ladies and one brave gent! Like the Bible story of the fishes and the loaves, food and drink seemed to multiply every time I wandered away from the table.
- Eight tables were individually decorated keeping to the theme of "Joy". Like the game of telephone tag, I told one person, and she told another and before I knew it, volunteers were picking up on the vision I had in my head but had trouble describing.
- The speaker was fascinating. The subject was, Mary, the mother of Jesus and how we can relate to her today. I realized how drawn I am to this woman, how that endearment has led me to starting the Guild of the Christ Child ministry and how others have stepped up to the plate to help. There is much to ponder in the days ahead. Mostly I was left with the idea that Mary was a "Hope Bearer". Ironic, isn't it, that someone like me who at times feels bereft of all hope, strives to be and honor the Hope Bearer with whom I share a name.
- The ladies were so pleased with the whole tea/hat/girly party thing going on they want to make it an annual affair. My heart was happy, my mind quick. I suggested to a few they do it next year and they said okay. How cool is that. [Note to self: Ask for help. Leave the help alone. ]
- And then there's my Sweetie. He stuck by me as I road this week's roller coaster. When I was down he comforted me (seriously the man does not seem to mind snot on his T-shirt), when I was worried he encouraged me and when I was feeling good and proud he stood beside me and encouraged me to see the good in me.
Today I'm grateful for a job well done. I'm grateful to the people who helped me pull it off. I'm grateful for the smiles on the faces of women whose names I don't even know. I'm grateful for the gifts given so we can turn around and give them to moms and babies who need them. I'm grateful for people to lean on and learn from. And I'm grateful for a sterling silver link to my mother who I think would have loved everything about the party, but mostly the opportunity to wear a hat.
My wish for you (and ME) is this: Listen to that soft, still voice that speaks to you and sometimes sends you on a journey you aren't quite prepared for. Believe you will be prepared along the way. Be open to the teachers who are put on your path. Rejoice and give thanks in place you end up.
P.S. I have some pictures to share but they are in the process of uploading/downloading.
P.S.S. I have no idea about the font size and line spacing of this post. I think it has something to do with copying that quote from another source. I can't figure how to change it. Sorry if it hurts your eyes.