The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Thanksgiving Potluck and What Ifs

on November 19, 2012

Yesterday we attended what will be our final Thanksgiving potluck at the church where we’ve attended and  I’ve worked for the past 12 years.  I have to admit that we’ve skipped many of those meals over the years.  First of all I’m not a huge potluck fan.  I’ve seen some of these people’s homes and eating food that has come from those homes makes me nervous.  Does that make me a snot?  Perhaps, but I’m just being honest.   I realize that there are lots of restaurants that are probably worse but at least I haven’t seen their kitchens.  Besides they at least get inspected from time to time by the health department.  I finally remedied this by becoming a “pan reader” .  Yes – I read the labels on the pan to see who brought it. If it isn’t labeled or I didn’t see who brought it in I don’t eat it.  (Welcome to my retentive world.)  I also have the propensity to skip fellowship events because I am the church secretary.  Every time I walk through the door whether I’m “on the clock” or not. I can count on at least 3 people asking me about something that has to do with my job while trying to eat during a fellowship dinner.  And then they get annoyed if I don’t jump to solve the issue right then or remember what they told me the next day.  Combine those two main ingredients and I’m more of a “potluck skipper.” Yesterday, however, we decided to stay since this will be one of our last opportunities to attend such a function.

I was reminded how much I love these people as I walked by one table where one of our “seasoned saints” was busily stuffing food into her take home Tupperware container after she finished eating.  A few years ago that would have annoyed me and I would have been appalled that anyone would be that tacky.  Yesterday, however, it made me laugh, almost out loud.  This sweet lady is one of the funniest old women I know.  I hope I’m that funny when I get to that age so that I can get away with stuff.  She is the church “picture taker” – always there to capture the moment.  With some of the worst pictures I’ve ever seen.  Then she gets doubles printed so you can have a copy of what you look like from a toddler’s vantage point. (did I mention she is short?) I have some really great shots of the inside of my husband’s nose because of this sweet lady.  She’s also a notorious driver.  I used to think they called her “flash” because of the picture think.  Nope.  She drives fast. Always.  While trying to do something else like touch up the frosting on a cake she’s decorating. (Yes – I’m serious.)  How she still has insurance is beyond me.   She also deeply cares about everyone’s lives (almost to the point of being intrusive) and does stuff for people that no one else would ever do.  I love this woman and I’m going to miss her.  I realized that as I watched her fill up her lunch dish for the next day.  She is one of a kind and I’ll never meet another lady like her.  Though she’s caused me a few headaches at my job over the years I am so thankful to have had the chance to cross her path (though not with my car – whew!) for these years.

Chuckling I walked toward the table where my family was located when I stopped to talk to friend.  She noted that she was surprised to see me there because she knows my feelings about potluck food and being “on duty” at church things.  I smiled and told her that we figured that since it was the last Thanksgiving we’d be here I figured we ought to come.  Besides I’m am getting pretty good at reading pans.  We had a laugh and I went on, but her words stuck with me the rest of the afternoon.  I kind of felt bad that people would be surprised to see me.  We’ve attended this church for a long time and have attended lots of things over the years but once I got to thinking about it I realized that it has been less and less over the past few years.  Part of it I suppose is feeling tired and burnt out.  Part of it is feeling that you are about to move on and being anxious to get there.  Part of it, however, is plain flat being complacent. Things are always going to be the same, right?  Somehow knowing that we are leaving has snapped me out of some of that.  We are trying to enjoy these last months here in the place that has been home for so long.  We are trying to leave nothing unsaid or undone.  It makes me stop and wonder, though: what if we lived like we were moving all the time?

What if we’d take every opportunity we could to enjoy what is going on like it’s the last time it could happen.  I know that a person cannot possibly participate in every activity and I would never suggest that anyone should try but what if we’d make sure to be there more than not being there?  Since we found out about our upcoming move we have purposed to do just that.  Participate in things one last time and enjoy them to their fullest.  As long and drawn out as this move has seemed to be I will forever be grateful that I’ve had time to say goodbye to some things.  To let them go on a high note and with good memories.  We don’t always have that chance in life.

What if we’d purge the stuff that isn’t important.  I have been in all out downsize mode lately.  If we haven’t used it in a while or no longer need it it is going out the door.  What if we lived that way?  Getting rid of junk that is just taking up space. I’m talking both physically and metaphorically here of course.  I’ve had no greater joy lately than giving stuff away to people who I know will use it an enjoy it.  Life is meant to be shared not hoarded.  Junk just gets in your way eventually.

What if we’d live like we knew that we wouldn’t be around much longer?  Would the little things, like my sweet friend and her Tupperware, annoy us as much any longer?  I can tell you in my life: no.  Instead I see the sweet things in people,  The things about them that I’m going to miss.  I think about all the things that so many people have done for and with us over the years and the silly stuff just doesn’t seem to matter.   What  if I took the time to do that more often instead of just when I’m getting ready to move?  I’m sure I’d probably be a sweeter person.

What if we’d purpose to have more fun and enjoy things more because we knew we wouldn’t get the chance again? Would are days be fuller and our hearts more content?

I’ll be forever grateful to my friend for making that statement.  She has no idea that it had that big of an impact on me. She was mostly trying to be funny in her blunt honest way.  What if we all were honest with each other more often?  I wonder if we’d all get to thinking about the little things a little more.

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4 responses to “Thanksgiving Potluck and What Ifs

  1. javaj240 says:

    Wow! Those are a lot of questions, LOL! I know what you mean though. Definitely “food for thought”.

  2. Oh my goodness…the lady with her tupperware container is cracking me up!!! I can totally picture her and her photography skills!! Yes, I think I could definitely learn to appreciate her if I was moving away!!

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