Silver- cleaned. (It’s a cheap plated set. But, hey- anything that requires cleaning must mean lavish celebration- right? Hmmm… If I go with that logic- toilets are a lavish celebratory item. Maybe not.)
Serving platters, bowls and utensils- clean and matching.
Tablecloth- new, matching the “table scape” and ironed.
Candles-in place and ready for lighting.
Entire house cleaned and “staged.” (In my case Staged means I stuff all the things I usually actually use into places I may or may not be able to find them later. Like: bills.)
This process of top to bottom preparation can take a week or more. It always costs way more than I intend to spend, or should. By the time my guests arrive, I’m so wound up with tension and exhausted by cleaning I am not in the mood or, condition for celebration. My body hurts from carpet cleaning, my allergies are nuts from dust rousing and my attitude is irritated. Mostly with myself, that I can’t keep my house “up” all the time, with a side of angst that by the time my guests leave, it will be almost as messy as it was before they arrived.
For years- maybe decades- I thought this was “celebrating lavishly.”
I totally missed the point. (a theme in my life. If I ever write a memoir it could totally be titled: Adventures in Missing The Point. Just sayin.)
In reality-these were not lavish celebrations, these, were events with the intent to impress. (and bless… I mean I’m not that hung up on myself… I do care about the people involved. I really thought celebrations had to be perfect to be appreciated.)
A key element of this years MOPS International theme is “Celebrate Lavishly.” My first response? “Oh Lord, I’m too exhausted to clean and cancer has eaten up my lavish celebration budget. I may skip this one. Is it even appropriate or realistic to celebrate lavishly when your life is kind of a mess?”
Maybe. If I change my perspective of celebrating lavishly.
What if-Celebrate- lavishly means: I Lavish my life with celebration. Big things. Little things. Mundane things. Special things?
According to dictionary.com To celebrate means to publicly acknowledge with a social gathering or enjoyable activity. It also means to: mark, commemorate, keep, observe, honor. Please note the absense of pinterest boards, expense, carpet cleaners or, need for chiropractic or massage therapy.
In the bible, most celebrations mentioned-were simple. People. Bread, wine, fish. Piles of stones marked pivotal events. Passover was celebrated not with a lavish meal- but a meal of meaning. Each item a reminder of the miracle observed.
What if I change my approach? What if I start to lavishly celebrate- simply? Without debt. Without perfection. What if I focus on the gathering and activity, the honoring of people and events?
Over the years-I’ve dipped my toes into that refreshing pool. Somtimes accidentally. It’s an entirely different experience. Those simple celebrations- where a family member gets their favorite dessert, or meal and we laugh and enjoy each other and mark the event… those are the celebrations we remember and enjoy. They are also usually improvised occasions where in my superpower of perfectionism is superceded by immediacy.
Like: The time we pushed the dinner table out of the way and turned on 80’s music and danced in the kitchen, because my husband finished a long exhausting training. Our tradition of verbal blessings on birthdays are rememered way longer than electronic devices purchased as gifts or the meal eaten out….Sometimes it’s just been saying: It’s your night- tonight we’re celebrating YOU, your accomplishment- whatever. Honestly? Sometimes we’ve eaten whatever I already had planned, but the focus and intent changed it into a celebration.
Maybe I’m not the only one who confuses lavish celebration with expense and perfection. If that’s you— will you join me in learning to lavish our lives with celebration this year? Let’s simplify and focus. Let’s mark events, commemorate, observe, honor….from college acceptance letters to potty training goals met and weeks survived- let’s celebrate lavishly- with love. (and maybe food. Even if the food is pizza ordered in and a 2 liter of pop… Piinterest- not necessary.)
Dear Lord- Change my heart. Help me learn to celebrate lavishly. Teach me, Lord to focus on people not atmosphere, help me to be present, not worried about perfect presents. Big things and small. Teach me to celebrate. I love you lord—-amen.
Last night, I experienced a perfect example of lavish celebration. My Mom’s spaghetti- served with love and bread and wine on the beach. A family tradition- savored and enjoyed. Lavish? Absolutely. Because we were together. Enjoying the work of my moms Italian heart….and pan;)
What can you celebrate, today? here- it looks llike it could be a rainy vacation day… I think some celebratory games and junk food and reading and knitting are in order. Seems like a perfect way too celebrate a rainy day, to me:)