Having just finished up an afternoon of garden work, I got ready to go inside and relax when my phone beeped.
A little girl from Alyssa’s softball team was having a birthday party that afternoon, and truth be told, I had forgotten about it. I didn’t know this girl or her family before the softball season so I didn’t make it a priority.
But the message on my phone was one from a desperate mother. She begged any of the softball parents to stop by the party, even for just a minute, because no one had shown up.
Change of Plans
My heart sank for this sweet little girl and her family. Though dressed in gardening clothes and probably smelling of sweat and bug spray, I packed up the kids and we headed to this girl’s house.
I arrived to see this 7-year-old in a beautiful white and navy dress and carefully braided pigtails. Her face brightened when we arrived and she quickly ushered Drew and Alyssa to her room and showed them around. Shortly after, another child from the softball team came in, and the children took turns smacking the SpongeBob piñata. Cake, ice cream, and presents followed. Each child, including mine enjoyed each minute.
It didn’t matter at that moment that I was tired, sweaty, or stinky. Sure, the thought of a shower and a good book on this quiet Saturday afternoon still appealed greatly to me at the moment. But my personal preferences dwarfed in comparison to the smile on this little girl’s face.
On the way to the party, my son had asked why no one had come. Recalling another birthday party a few weeks earlier, where my kids were just one of two families who came, I had to face the obvious. It’s not the kids who don’t want to come. It’s us. The parents.
I’ve been doing birthday parties for a decade. And I’m tired of them, quite frankly. As an introvert, I would rather be in my home than having to socialize.
And as a Christian who takes seriously my role in sharing the hope of Christ with others, I realize how awful that is. But it’s the truth. It’s my flesh. It’s my selfishness in its raw form.
The Ministry of
In one of this mom’s pleas, she wrote, “no presents necessary.” All her daughter wanted was people to be there.
We need to show up.
We need to put our preferences and social anxieties and personal pleasure aside and be there.
Whether it’s the birthday party or the baby shower or the funeral, we need to show up.
I’m not always so good at that. I’m much better at making excuses or finding reasons why I can’t do something.
But I need to get better and finding ways to show up. To be there. It’s only a couple of hours of my time. But for someone, it could mean the world.
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