I PLANNED MY OWN BIRTHDAY PARTY.
Big deal. My wife planned another.
This past Sunday I was turning another decade, and change. So I had decided a few weeks ago to copy something I saw a German gent do last year when we visited friends there.
The German gent threw his own party. He rented the biggest part of a restaurant and called in his family and friends for a meal, on his tab.
How wonderfully cool, I thought.
I decided to take my family and some friends to a really nice restaurant. I wanted recommendations from the restaurant connoisseurs in my family. But to my dismay, I got squat. Dead air. Nobody hit the Reply button.
So I went to my dear friend, Google.
I found one of the highest-rated restaurants in the area. Expensive. But I would turn this particular decade and change only once in my life.
I asked for the family’s approval of this particular restaurant. My son very much approved. My daughter eventually approved, and said she made the reservations.
Unknown to me, my wife had been planning for weeks to throw me a surprise party…I think partly because she felt she missed a prime opportunity at the turn of my latest decade.
Her party would begin at the prime time for Sunday napping: about 3:30.
One of my best friends on the planet told me he needed my help moving a table he was getting from his neighbor.
After church on Sunday, my wife and I ate with friends, one of whom is having some physical problems associated with being closer to age 100 than 1. My wife, who is a nurse, offered to go to this lady’s house and test some bodily fluid. I can’t remember what because I was eating rice and Kung pao chicken at the time.
As for my wife and the lady with her:
I drove home by myself. I edited some photos I took of my son golfing on Friday. I walked the dog. Then I drove to my friend’s house to move the table.
I was suspicious by then. I knew something was going on. I knew it was probably related to my birthday. But I didn’t know what was about to happen.
I didn’t let my mind dwell on it, either.
I figured that if I hoped for a party, I would be disappointed if all I got was a hitch in my get along from moving the table.
And if I hoped for a table, I would be disappointed at missing out on treating my family and friends German-style.
Sometimes it’s best to shift our plans into neutral. That works pretty well for me, especially when I don’t know if I’m coming or going, moving or eating, tricking or treating.
There was noise inside my friend’s house. People noise.
I rang the doorbell. My friend answered. He looked more excited than one might expect of man about to move furniture.
From behind him rose a chorus: “Happy Birthday!”
I rarely use exclamation points. I reserve them for the likes of yelling, roaring, and explosive belches.
There was yelling.
The house was full of people.
- My family.
- My Bible study group.
- Some folks I served with on a mission trip.
- Church friends I hadn’t seen for years.
- Heck, even my financial planner showed up, on her way home from a convention in St. Louis.
I looked at my friend and asked, “How many Christians does it take to move a table?”
We would party until after 7 p.m., when my friend turned on Karaoke and we started singing a duet.
So it was.
No quiet restaurant with family and friends.
Instead, a loud house filled with family and more friends.
My buddy said he had trouble telling the lies. He said it bothered him. His wife confirmed it.
But he did it so well.
“Don’t lie to each other,” Paul wrote (Colossians 3:9).
I believe there are some Bible passages we shouldn’t trouble ourselves with by taking them as God’s law for all time.
This one, for example. I suspect Paul wrote it sometime before Timothy ever got around to throwing him a surprise birthday party.
“Paul, I need your help burying a dead camel.”