Neh. 8:10: "...share gifts...with people who have nothing..." A celebration is not to be self-centered.
This was it. The day of the prom had finally arrived. Beth stood in front of her bedroom mirror admiring the sleek, crimson-red gown. It had taken weeks to find "just the right dress", and a lot of talking to convince her mother. "All the girls will be wearing spaghetti straps, Mom. It's the style. Please?" She had been so excited when Bill asked her to the dance even though she knew he would. After all, they had been dating for over a year now and were known as "a couple". But when he made it official, well that was all she needed to persuade her Mom that she needed something "very special" to wear.
It was only noon, but having just returned from the beauty salon she couldn't wait to see how the dress would look with her black, curly, up-swept hair-do. The phone rang and Beth said hello to her best friend Sue.
"Hi Beth. How did your hair turn out?"
"It's absolutely GREAT. I was just admiring myself in the mirror. What's up with you?"
"Well to tell the truth, I'm upset. Kerry called about an hour ago saying she wouldn't be able to go tonight because her mother lost her job and they had to return her dress."
"That's terrible. She doesn't seem to ever get a break, does she? I'll call her right now."
Beth hung up to find tears in her eyes. She admired Kerry so much. Since her parents divorced and her dad quit providing support, Kerry had to work during the summer and after school for spending money. There was only enough from what her mother made to meet the monthly bills and buy groceries. But Kerry never complained.
"Hi, Kerry. Sue told me about you not coming tonight, and I wanted to tell you how sorry I am."
"Thanks Beth. Me, too...but I'll be okay. Mom is the one who needs consoling, not me. She has struggled for so long, and now, to lose her job...well, she's just beside herself."
Beth listened as her friend bravely praised her mom and explained how the money from the dress would help them.
"Well, have a good time, Beth, and take a lot of pictures, okay?"
"You bet. If there's anything I can..."
"Oh, no. Enjoy yourself...and...I'll see you Monday."
Beth heard the emotion in Kerry's voice and knew it wasn't okay at all. Kerry had saved for months to buy that dress. And now...
Beth turned from the phone and caught a glimpse of her new dress reflected in the mirror as it lay on the bed. Behind it, through the open closet door, her pink confirmation dress from two years ago hung alongside of her only other party dress, from her 16th birthday celebration. Her parents had tried to talk her into wearing one of those to the prom, but Beth complained that she "couldn't possibly...they're out of fashion", and "I'll just die if I can't have a new one".
Beth said a prayer for her friend.
Then she heard it. That inner voice telling her what she should do. It started as a whisper becoming louder and louder. At first Beth ignored it. At first Beth said NO. But at last Beth listened to the Holy Spirit, and she knew what she had to do.
She called Kerry telling her about the dress and that she would have her Mom drive her over. Kerry was crying when they hung up.
That night at the prom, Kerry came in on Dan's arm looking resplendent in a perfectly fitting red dress with spaghetti straps. Her shining auburn hair, in its pixie cut, frammed her blushing-red cheeks, and the Christmas-morning smile that was on her face.
Beth waved from the dance floor, looking stunning herself in the lavender, V-neck, satin party dress from last year. No one seemed to notice that it was out-of-date, especially Bill who only had eyes for her.
Her first prom, and she was sure it would be the one she would always remember, because it was the one God orchestrated.
copyright 2004 by Karen Treharne