Tim and I attend an inordinate amount of weddings –mainly because my hubby is a wedding pastor and teaches a pre-marital class. (And I would suggest because he is brilliant, hot and won’t mess up their pictures)
At one of our recent festivities we were seated at the “reserved” family table and enjoying dinner when one of the groomsmen brought over the family housekeeper and invited her to sit in an empty seat next to him. While the sweet housekeeper appeared flustered and awkward because she wasn’t dressed up, she did agree to join us and jumped up to grab the waiter for a plate.
As soon as the housekeeper walked over to the bar, the groomsmen quietly explained to our table that the housekeeper was sitting inside all alone and he wanted to include her because she was a part of the family. We all nodded and agreed it was a fabulous idea, except for his mother.
“She’s not invited son. She’s the help. I didn’t pay for her to eat with us,” the mother exclaimed in a loud and shrill voice.
I shrunk down in my chair in mortification.
Her son boldly stared his mother down. “It’s too late. I’ve invited her. Deal with it.”
The mother scowled and turned away. But a few minutes later she was back to telling us how involved she was at her church and yada, yada, yada…
And then I vomited in my mouth a little.
Because the damage of her remark lingered and it made me wonder how she viewed me –was I the lowly help too.
As the pastor’s wife, I wasn’t really an invited guest.
I looked down at the ground and chewed on my thoughts.
Do I judge like that? Do I discount people because of occupation or status?
While I hope not, I will fess up to feeling uncomfortable at Knott’s berry Farm the other day. I felt very fair-skinned and un-inked in a land of gang-type attire and attitude. I even saw toddlers with tattoos. I had to work hard to smile big and not retreat in fear.
And while nothing in me made me feel better or set apart, I did feel different and I know in awkward situations it’s easier to push away then lean in and embrace.
But as Christians that’s exactly what we need to do. We must stop trying to LOOK spiritual and BE spirit lead. We need to not only love our servants, we need to be servants. We are commanded to love our neighbor –even when they have unsupervised kids who randomly show up and stay too late, even when they party every Friday and Saturday night until 3:00am right outside your bedroom window, and even when they cuss you out on Social Media for a misunderstanding.
We need to embrace the uncomfortable.
So, although I didn’t confront the woman at the party because we don’t have that type of relationship, I wish I could have grabbed a cup of coffee with her and held her hand and looked her in the eyes and said…
I know this isn’t easy. I won’t pretend you will feel comfortable but let’s risk together.
Why don’t we invite the down-trodden in our life to the party? Let’s make room at our table for the poor and the quirky and the Mexican woman who has loved your kids and vacuumed up the dust-bunnies and scrubbed the stains out of your shirt. Let’s bless and love and love some more, even when it’s hard and even when people will raise their eyebrows.