I crave words of affirmation, but I'm embarrassed to listen to compliments. I think that makes me weird. Don't you?
Since we're moving in a few short weeks, my husband and I had planned to let our girls throw a goodbye party for their friends, and we chose Sunday the 16th as the best date in our crazy schedule. Then, I talked to one of my friends at chapel, a commander's wife, who said that was the same date she'd chosen for a goodbye social for two ladies leaving: the outgoing deputy commander's wife, and me. I told her she didn't have to do that for me, etc. You know the drill. But she was obviously upset about it, even though her words said, "It's ok."
So I figured it this way: My husband isn't even that unit's chaplain anymore, and this other gal who's also leaving had done a lot for the group! I mean a LOT. She is at every event, always in the kitchen, taking care of details, organizing--whereas at those events, I try to help but get chased out of the kitchen. So it wouldn't matter much if I wasn't there. I didn't deserve it anyway.
On Sunday, I was talking to the group commander (whose wife is the one throwing the party, but I sing with him on the praise team), and he said, "You know, my wife is really disappointed you won't be able to come next week. Is there any way you could come for even part of it?" I expressed to him what I just described in the preceding paragraph. He looked at me straight in the eye and said, "But that doesn't matter. You don't have to do anything. You are Pattie. She wants to have you there because of who you are. Not what you do."
In spite of myself, I began to tear up a little, said thank you, and changed the subject. I grabbed my husband a few minutes later and asked him if he minded if I split my time, by attending part of the party at her house, and then arriving a bit late at the pizza place for the girls' party. He said that was fine with him, no problem, and I should go.
When I saw my friend and told her I could come for the first hour, she was absolutely ecstatic. She was practically bouncing in glee! I was happy to have made her happy, and floored once again that she really wanted to do this for me.
I say this not to brag on myself--far from it. I tell this story because it's a good illustration of grace. Something given to me I absolutely don't deserve, something I did not earn, something I'm humbled to receive, and something given just because I'm me.