Well today is The Party. For several years now my friend and her husband have hosted a party to celebrate family, love, and friendship. This party is much like a wedding reception except there will be no new bride and groom. But in many ways we are celebrating their wedding because it brought forth a beautiful family. We are celebrating all that is good about love and family. This party contains all the elements one could hope for in life…food, family, friends, fun, and music.
They loved to dance together and they loved to see their guests having fun together. Every other year has been marked with this celebration. I have to accept my deep regret this time. Two years ago at their last party my husband and I were in San Diego, consequently we were not able to attend.
Had I known two years ago that she would not be here for her next party I would have made different vacation plans. But we are not privileged to see the future so, I was not there. It was my decision. We all have to live with the results of the decisions we make in life.
She was disappointed that we were going to miss the party, but she never made me feel guilty. That is true friendship.
That year during the party she gave away some of her precious possessions to her children. She also had small pieces of crystal decorating each table, which one person at each table received to take home.
Later many people asked me if she knew she was dying. I cannot now nor could I then answer that question completely. But I believe when you have pancreatic cancer diagnosis you cannot “not” think about your own mortality.
It seems fitting that the gospel reading today is the Wedding Feast at Cana. Jesus performed his first public miracle changing water into the best wine. I rejoice at the beautiful marriage my friend and her husband shared for 42 years. On more than one occasion I witnessed their response to, “Do whatever he tells you.” On more than one occasion they took empty jars a filled them with their unconditional love. Who could ask for anything more from a friend than unconditional love?
It will be a difficult night as I mingle with family and friends who loved her and miss her presence in their lives. I suppose I will never truly get over missing her. Yes, I know things get better with time, but a part of me left this earth with her. A part that can never be replaced…a part I gladly let her take into eternity…my love for her.
We used to do a day of prayer together called “The Heart Connection”. We used a little story about an old man and a young man each boasting about who had the most beautiful heart. The young man thought he did until he listened to the old man describe how his heart came to look so tattered and torn. How through the years the old man had given parts of his heart away. How sometimes people would ignore his gift; and sometimes they would give him a piece of their heart in return. His heart looked more like a well loved and worn patch work quilt to be treasured.
I go to this party ready to join her family in sharing her love with everyone attending.
I wonder, though not recorded in the Bible, how many people regretted not answering the call to follow Jesus. Did they have other things to do at the time of the call? Did they not believe what he was saying and doing? Were they not ready? Was it just not the right time in for them?
We all have regrets in our life. A regret can be as simple as not being able to accept an invitation or as serious as not mending a relationship with a loved one. Many people express their regrets on their deathbed.
“Regrets are the tears of choices not made, and of good deeds left undone.” Jonathan Lockwood Huie
I really do not think my friend had any real regrets to express, because she lived her life always trying to do what was placed on her heart.
Perhaps it is better to make a fool of yourself rather than to build a storage shed to hold all of your life regrets.
“…Live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” Eph. 4:1b
Well everyone at the party had a good time and joy filled the room through lively music, exhausting dance, tasty food, personal conversations, and warm embraces.
My friend was dancing in heaven with us…not sure what the chicken dance looks like with angel wings! But I have a really vivid imagination!
“All who believed were together and had all things in common.” Acts. 2:44