Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Potluck (Meal or Gathering) Deadline 7-26-12 @ 10 AM NY Time (07/19/12)
TITLE: Take It Easy
By Hiram Claudio
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Tony and his wife were getting ready to host three couples for dinner. They all met at the church’s potluck fellowship meal last week and the group just seemed to hit it off quickly. Tony’s wife was now panic stricken as she raced through their home, attending to every imaginable detail, making sure every little thing was in place.
Tony tried to break the tension he felt in her. “I thought we only invited the new friends we met in church last week.”
“We did. Why do you ask?”
“Well, with the pressure you’re placing on yourself, I thought perhaps the Queen of England was stopping by as well.” Tony smiled sheepishly. He was trying to lighten the mood. It didn’t work.
“You just don’t understand. We had such a great time with everyone last week. It felt so wonderful to sit with a group like that and just share. I really feel this could be the start of something awesome. I want everything to be right and don’t want to mess this up.”
“Honey, please! I know you want everything just so. I too felt a warm connection and an ease that made everything feel so … safe. I look forward to growing with these folks as well.”
“So why aren’t you joining me in polishing a lamp or fluffing a pillow or something?”
“Sweetheart, listen to me. I want everything to look good for them too. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward. But look around you. The place already looks amazing. Relax.”
“I can’t. I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten, something they might notice and … you never know what could bug someone.”
Tony’s wife quickly ran to the closet and pulled out the vacuum. As she ran it over the living room carpet, Tony stood there looking at her. His smile was small at first then grew as their eyes met. She sighed deeply as she realized it was the fourth time she’d vacuumed in the last twenty minutes.
“Honey … you really need to take it easy. Everything will be okay. We’re going to have another wonderful and awesome evening.”
“I’m sorry Tony. I don’t know why I’m being this way. I guess I want to grow closer to this group. The time we all shared last week was special…it really ministered to me. I felt the Lord’s presence so much!”
“I did too! But do you remember what the setting was for that get together?”
“Yeah, it was a potluck dinner, so what?”
“It was a gathering where everyone just brought whatever they could. We arrived with few, if any, expectations, and just enjoyed being there. We all came to the dinner simply to enjoy. The food had no theme. The place settings were simple, the only ones the church could afford. In fact they didn’t match. It wasn’t about the pots of food everyone brought, and luck played no role in the evening either. None of that mattered. In this very informal setting, God brought the eight of us together.”
“You’re right. I’m trying to re-create a perfect atmosphere when it was the people, and His presence, that made the evening so special before.”
“Exactly! Everything will be fine. Just take a deep breath and relax. Trust me …our biggest concern tonight will be in keeping all the ladies’ names straight.”
“I know. No one could’ve imagined in this little circle that every woman’s name, but mine, is Mary.”
“Yeah, good thing they all have different middle names. Now, it’s ‘Mary Ellen, Mary Sue, and Mary Jane’ …right?”
“I believe so. Thanks for helping me gain some perspective. I’ll be alright.”
“I know you will. You’re the amazing Martha I love and cherish.”
Tony held out his arms and they embraced each other tenderly. Just then, the doorbell rang. He looked into Martha’s eyes and smirked.
“Someone’s here! Oh no! Is everything in place? Maybe I should run the vacuum one more time or polish something. What do you think?”
Martha peered at him with a half smirk, “If I didn’t have to answer the door, I’d beat you senseless … which wouldn’t require much time.”
Tony laughed. “Ah, saved by the bell once again.”
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