Party Problems. Party Praises.
As we headed into the last of our five son’s graduation parties, many people started watching the weather, and soon texts and comments began coming in…must be a Cramer Party coming up; storms are on the way.
The tent was put up in the yard. The tables were decorated. The photos and awards were hung. The food was prepared. We were ready for a celebration regardless of what the weather was going to dish out. But yes, we were hoping for sunshine, swimming, games, and enjoying the beauty of looking out over the bay during the party. And one would think that we had a 50-50 shot at having nice weather. I mean two of the last four boys had nice weather, right? But our memories were going back to the two that didn’t fair quite as well.
For the oldest of the boys, a small tent was situated near the pond just in case it rained. Tables were set up around the yard, and the plan was to place the food on a large table in the grass. But as the party started, it didn’t take long for the sky to darken. The wind to pick up. And soon buckets of rain descended on us. Some people scrambled to get food under the shelter that the two small garages provided, and others squeezed shoulder to shoulder under the tent that was obviously too small. For the unlucky people on the edge of the tent, they received a drenching every so often as the roof folded in on the edges and water poured off the roof onto them. And for those who didn’t care if they got wet, they stood on the bank of the bay and watched the water spouts form on the water.
Five years later it was time for son number two to graduate. He too wanted to give the outside party a try. This time we would be prepared. We not only got a tent big enough to hold all the people, but we got another tent just for food. We were ready. Or so we thought. After the party got started, once again the view over the bay started to look eerily suspicious. I went inside and turned on the television. Sure enough there were storm warnings. And these were not just regular storm warnings. These were the kind that were saying bring in items that can blow away, possible tornadoes forming, and take cover immediately. By the time I ran outside, the wind was howling; the rain had begun to come down. Men were grabbing tent poles to hold them in place, (my father-in-law was horizontal hanging onto a pole!) while others were escorting elderly people into the house. Children were shuttled in the basement door and instructed to stay there. The house filled up wall to wall with people. And of course, we had to run out and save some of that food; we couldn’t have all these people in the house with no food. When everyone was safely in the house, we watched as the storm continued to descend upon us; tent poles were bending, and tables were being knocked over and strewn across the yard. Yet relief settled around us; children’s laughter filled the basement, and people began to enjoy the company around them.
By the third son, people were warning him not to choose an outdoor party. But with his “bring it on” attitude, he wanted to go for it. And the weather turned out beautiful, as it did for the fourth son.
So when it was son number five’s turn, how he could turn down an outdoor party with a tent set up in the yard? He would provide the tie breaker. Two-two. Storm-no storm.
The party was started. People were coming and going. And the food was about to be set out for dinner. Then it happened. The sky over the bay began to darken. The wind began to pick up. The rush to put the sides on the tent meant all hands on deck for the men, as women helped me save the photos from getting wet. Once all was in place, we ate. Yup. We ate under the tent with the howling wind. The black sky. The cracks of thunder. And the downpour of rain. And we laughed. We laughed at the fact that the tie had been broken. Not the way I would have liked, but you know, it was quite funny.....and I would have missed seeing the many ways God showed up.
God showed up in the helpful people. He showed up in their attitudes. He showed up in the laughter. He was in the midst of the downpour as guests waited in their cars for the rain to let up and make a run for the tent. He was in the midst of the caterer and her ability to just go with the flow and keep the food going. And let me tell you, He was in the night sky, that just hours later provided the most beautiful sunset that I had ever seen.
You see, God has a way of really showing up in the midst of life’s storms. We all have them. We have the pain that goes along with financial issues. We have the devastation of the loss of a loved one. We have the uncertainty of a cancer or other health related diagnosis. We have the heartbreak of loved ones turning their backs on the direction of their families. We have______; you fill in the blank. We all have our storms. And yet, He is right smack in the middle of them. Wait. You will see Him. You will feel Him. You will sense His presence. It will be in the hope He provides. The peace He gives. The comfort He offers. And sometimes, it’s in the beautiful sunset just hours after the storm has passed. Perhaps it’s His way of saying, “weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NIV)
Written by: Misty Cramer ©July 2019
My thoughts were suddenly jolted by a gargled, yet loud, sound from one of the men in the bed behind me. As I shifted in my chair and looked, I smiled at a lady in the chair next to him. Her tiny body sat close to the bed, her hand stretched across the blanket, holding his hand. As the nurse made her way past me, she whispered in my ear, “His wife comes every day and sits with him, even though he never opens his eyes or talks.”
Her statement spoke volumes, and I dismissed myself from grandpa’s bedside and pulled up a chair next to the woman. Above his bed hung a small cross, surrounded by some family photos. I began to talk to the woman, and listened to her as she confirmed what the nurse had said. His unintelligible moans were frequent, coming several times each minute. From the reactions of his roommates and others who went in and out of the room, it was apparent the moaning had become as normal as the sounds of the nurses chatter in the hallway.
It was after his wife shared about their family, and her daily visits to sit with her husband that she disclosed the words that would forever be embedded into my heart. It was if she was waiting to save the best for last. Perhaps adding an exclamation point to the end of a sentence.
“I don’t even know if my husband knows I’m here. He moans loudly, around the clock. He doesn’t speak…except for this. Whenever I sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’, he joins right in and sings every word with me.”
This frail body. This person who needed to be tended to for even the slightest needs. This man whose moans filled the room all day, every day. This man…this man would join his wife in singing “Jesus Loves Me”, without missing a word.
I left the nursing home that day in awe of the love and commitment of a woman to her husband. A woman whose love was obvious as she displayed evidence of the words, “in sickness and in health…til death do us part.” And I left with the Holy Spirit washing over me, filling me with the peace of knowing that even in our darkest times, even when it seems we can’t be reached, even when life seems to have gone on without us, He is still present. His love and His promises reach into the darkness, take hold of us, drawing us deeper into His presence, and reminding us that He was there all the while.
If you are interested in additional writings by Misty, you may “like” her Facebook page Misty Cramer, Author and Speaker. Misty Cramer © July 2019
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