One of the anticipated highlights of the past holiday weekend was dinner at the home of our dear family friends. We have traded dinners countless times during our 15 years of friendship, and it never fails to delight. When we arrived at the door, wine in hand and babe in tow, we were met with genuine smiles, warm hugs, and a greeting of, "What a nice surprise!"
I stopped cold. What a nice surprise?! Did I get the day wrong? Weren't we expected? I immediately put myself in the place of the hostess. Of course I would be happy to see our friends, but I would also panic. What could I whip up on short notice with the ingredients in the kitchen!? Do we have clean napkins!? How (un)tidy is the house?!
Feeling awkward about our intrusion, we offered our sincere apologies and started making our way toward the door, but our friends invited us to stay for a glass of wine. They then insisted we join them for dinner, and walked us out to the backyard to see the abundance of food already cooking in the green egg. Preparations were underway to host family and neighbors for a casual cookout. We were assured that adding us to the mix would be no problem - and, in fact, their pleasure...
As the evening progressed, impromptu appetizers appeared, a second table materialized, and the food and drinks seemingly multiplied before our eyes. We were overwhelmed by their kindness and humbled by the gracious welcome. The delicious meal and wonderful conversation that ensued served as a wonderful reminder of what can happen when you welcome the unexpected as an opportunity rather than a challenge.
We all encounter unforeseen events in the course of our days. How can you greet the unexpected with grace today?