Friday, March 18, 2016

The Surprise

Our family has a favorite game called Spook. It's a twist on the old familiar hide and seek, except it's played in the dark, and the finder gets to wield a flashlight. The twist is that when you're about to be discovered, you scream or yell “boo” as loud as you can to try and scare the beJeebies out of the finder. I've seen that it's a lot of fun, although I don't play it. I prefer to keep my bejeebies intact. Plus, it's my husband's tradition with the kids, it's his time to be a kid again, and  he loves it as much as they do.

I have a beloved sister-in-law, Teresa, who also loves the element of surprise. Through the years, she has planned her out of town visits so that she can walk out from a back room unknowingly and surprise everyone with her presence. She has done this over and over for anniversaries, Christmas parties, birthdays, and even for no apparent reason at all. She just loves to surprise people.

Two years ago,Teresa and I were responsible for planning an 80th birthday party for my sweet mother-in-law. I, who don't really appreciate surprises wanted to make it a planned event. Of course, Teresa wanted to surprise her. Well circumstances became a little complicated at the time, so we decided to compromise. Teresa would appear out of the bedroom of my in-law's house on the day of the event, for the surprise factor. But the party was to be planned. I had told Mom that we would have a few friends gathered together at church for dessert and coffee. She loved the idea--she wouldn't want a huge event with a lot of planning and preparation. The thought of a few close friends gathered for her birthday would be perfect for her. Plus, she wanted to be able to look nice for the occasion. So my sister and brother-in-law took them out for dinner, and then brought them over to church for the party. 

Little did any of us know, but the small gathering of friends had grown to about 80 people. Several of her closest friends had gone above and beyond and decorated the room beautifully. Speeches were given telling of her love and thoughtfulness. Mom was like a little bird, flitting from table to table, hugging people and laughing. I don't think she stopped talking and hugging all night. She had sown time, love, and her amazing cooking with so many over the years. Hours of loving on the hurting, ministering to the broken hearted, truly treating those most of us would have overlooked as if they were the most important people on earth--this had been what she had sown.

The evening was spent honoring a lady who had truly impacted so many. The surprise was on all of us. The little gathering of friends became a grand birthday party after all.