“Setting Sail” with His Kindness
Nervous, as I always am before an event that I am hosting, I checked off my last minute list of goodies to be packed in the car for the party. Star-shaped cookies wrapped in wristbands, two floral centerpieces, the cake, photos of our youngest, the Navy journal, and, of course, the camera. Everyone was in the car when I glanced back and saw youngest’s jeans–they had the fashionable hole on the knees. I started fraying like his jeans, and asked, “Why didn’t you wear good jeans? You told me you wouldn’t wear ones with holes in them.”
“They’re good, Mom, don’t worry,” said youngest. I sighed. It seemed irreversible.
I decided it was best to drop the subject and remember how dark it would be in the restaurant. That no one would notice. What’s important is the relationship and all of his friends and our friends who would be coming to honor him and wish him well on his new endeavor in Navy Boot Camp.
So, I cheerfully prayed (out loud) for peace, love, and a joy-filled evening for everyone.
It seemed like none of my plans for the party were working according to the schedule and pattern. The invitation was missing a capitals on a couple of letters that were the title of the party. The two-toned wristbands arrived with the front message randomly printed, lopping over from one color to the next. Then there were my white pants that needed hemming–twice–because the woman who measured them insisted on making them longer than I typically wear them.
And, I almost forgot the fiasco with the balloons. I ordered them a week ahead of time. I was so proud of myself for being ahead of schedule. The event coordinator suggested I bring the balloons to the restaurant the night before the party and she would inflate them. So, I went back to the store a week early–and the balloons were already inflated. Someone had misread the date for “pick up” on the balloons. The store assured me that they could deflate the balloons and the restaurant could re-inflate them–no problem.
I’m sure that’s more information than you wanted but there really is a point to all of this. In the midst of this craziness, the Lord blessed me in a most unexpected way. We had an outstanding event coordinator that went above and beyond her job description. Not only did she volunteer to put the decorations up herself, but she bought some flag-styled hacky sacks and drink umbrellas with a flag design–all to scatter around the tables. Her kindness made my small difficulties melt away.
When we arrived at the restaurant, none of this mattered anymore. Balloons danced high above the tables from their star-spangled weights. Tables were scattered with flag-wrapped butter creme candies I had bought and the centerpieces were patriotically waving with freshly ironed mini flags and an Uncle Same hat. Anticipation of friends stepping through the door electrified the room. There was a glow in the darkness.
I set out the cookies, arranged the cake table with photos, cake, floral centerpieces, the Navy journal, and a bumper sticker that said, “Proud Parent of a Sailor.”
Friends and family began arriving and joy filled the room as we greeted and hugged. The time to rejoice was upon us~strengthening us for the days ahead that would be marked with empty arms and tears. But those thoughts did not penetrate God’s protective wall surrounding us that night.
|Jordan fights wearing the hat|
|But his friends prevail|
|Just one happy gang of good guys|
As Jordan’s friends laughed, hugged, mingled, I captured the moments on camera and in my memory. Bittersweet moments, recalling days when all these guys were young boys climbing, jumping, shooting baskets. How blessed to have these memories even when life doesn’t turn out just like you planned it.
|I could not have done this party without my friend, Karen|
|Special Friend and Crazy Lady|
” ‘but let him who boasts boast about this; that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.’ ” Jeremiah 9:24 NIV
For such joy-filled moments and memories, I thank the Lord:
895) Jordan’s Send-Off party filled with the Lord’s joy
896) Friends and family who share these moments with us in love
897) A special friend, given by God, to help me cut out cookies, decide on frosting, and support me through the planning~I could not have done it without her help
898) Cookies that didn’t crumble and frosting that didn’t break off
899) Yummy food that everyone liked~and leftovers to take home
900) The best chocolate cake stuffed with raspberry filling and topped with whipped frosting~the bomb Jordan called it
901) Guests who looked forward to writing messages for Jordan in the journal~messages to encourage him in boot camp
902) Red, white, and blue swirling sparkles and festive mood throughout the room~there’s something about those colors that stirs the heart
903) My son the Navy recruit remembering to bring me bumper stickers for a proud Mom’s car
905) A tee-shirt that says, “Proud Navy Mom” in feminine script–with flowers 🙂
906) Tying up loose legal ends before Jordan leaves~good but hard
907) Discovering that one of my oldest son’s friends who came to the party, but whom he hasn’t seen in a while, is the son of one of the teachers at school~God is just full of joy-filled surprises
908) The sprinkler system fixed by hubby. We have green grass again.
909) Oldest coming to our rescue with the red plastic gas container, when we ran out of gas just a few yards from the station.
910) And last but not least~hubby sweeping a small king snake out of our house. It was curled up by the front door! Our oldest, Tim, quickly whisked Chip out the back door. A story for another time.
Bitter sweet yes, but I am pleased it all went off so happily and that you had the help strength and support first of Our Lord and secondly of a dear friend, that always means a lot.
Great photos and thoughts you have shared.
God Bless – Nita
Oh Janis, you have come such a long way in accepting this chapter of your son’s life. Praise God! The party looks like it was a success. I love your list of thanks. I loved each one of your photos. And those cookies …oh my!
Blessings and love,