"Drinking tea, desires diminish and I come to see the ancient secret of happiness: wanting what I already have, inhabitating the life that is already mine." -- The Minister of Leaves
Ya'll who know me best will probably faint when I say this, but last Saturday, I went to a Christmas tea with about thirty of the women of the Beverly Drive United Methodist Church, thanks to a very cordial and heartfelt invitation by Linda Marcum, the church's Pastor.
I met Linda and her husband, Don, over the fence across the alley behind The Florist. Actually I met their poodle girl, Angel, first. Angel introduced me to her mom and dad. Don was already carrying his oxygen pack with him when we first met, but I didn't realize how ill he was. Within a year, he was gone. Super nice man -- and he loved his family and his Angel. We can tell Angel misses him, and she looks forward to Mama coming home. He is missed by those on the north side of the alley, too.
Linda is one of those people who comes along occasionally, who despite all that we are that is different, we connected. It's probably partly because we are both new widows, but hopefully that's just our initial introduction and we will be able to get to know one another better. I like her. She is a genuinely nice person.
I've known lots of Methodists, and generally speaking, I've found them to be open minded, welcoming and friendly. Two of my favorite people in the whole world, Bernice Stone and Cora Mae Watts, were Methodists. So were their families. Wonderful, honest people.
Although they attended church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening, they never force-fed their religious beliefs to me -- like some religions do. They did, however, talk to me about their beliefs, and how God would like to see us treat each other. They were good role models for a young mother of two.
Last Christmas is a blur to me. Linda may have invited me to her Christmas tea last year, but I didn't go. This year, though, I'm in a much better place, a much stronger frame of mind, so I told Linda I'd love to come to tea.
Thursday night, before the tea, I ate something that disagreed with me and ended up unable to go to work Friday. Sick all day and all evening, woke up Saturday feeling somewhat better but still lousy. Do I go have tea with the Methodists? Or call Linda and tell her I can't come?
That little voice in my mind that likes to make me think I'm insignificant, assured me, "You don't have to go. She's expecting about forty people."
"But I said I'd go and I hate to say I'll do something and then not follow through," I argued with myself.
"She won't even notice if you don't come."
But I got up, took a shower, dressed and went -- because I said I'd be there. I took Linda a gift, as a thank you for inviting me -- copies of "Come Hell or High Water", "The Hell About Stallions" and the preview of "When Hell Freezes Over", all beautifully wrapped up together and tied with a sparkling gold bow.
The "tea room" was beautifully decorated; white table cloths adorned with many different patterns of tea sets, floral arrangements, votive candles, mini Christmas trees, clear glasses filled with nuts and candies, snowflakes and a standard decorated Christmas tree with a bright star on top.
I met Kathy, don't know her last name. She said it was long and hard to spell and most people can't remember it. She was a lovely woman, new to Wichita Falls. Her husband is a regional Bishop, I think is what she told me, so they are only here for about eight years before they will move again. She said she likes Wichita Falls, that it has a peace about it that is missing in larger cities. It was nice to hear someone compliment Wichita Falls, since mostly all we native Wichitans do is complain because we don't have this or that.
The program included beautiful songs and thoughtful prayer, then as we helped ourselves to a lovely variety of finger foods, Linda called out the names of the "door prize" winners. I won the last one -- a variety box of Republic of Tea -- an appropriate gift for me. I love tea.
Linda may not have noticed if I hadn't come, but she sure noticed that I was there. She introduced me to the whole group as "Angel's friend" and they all knew Angel.
It was a fun relaxing time, filled with sweet voices and good will.
Will I go to church come Sunday morning? No.
Linda and I have different beliefs but that doesn't mean we can't be friends.
"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin
Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.
"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham
"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran
“And forget not