Celebration Times, Come On!

DancingAt a creativity camp in days gone by, our campers created original films. We explored shot angles, storylines, and pacing. One group wrapped their film with an animated rendering of Kool and the Gang’s song, “Celebration.” Except, instead of the original lyrics: “Celebrate good times, come on,” our gang belted out, “Celebration Times: come on!” Those words, sung with gusto, have become legend at our nonprofit, A Spacious Place.

We’ve entered Celebration Times. On the Christian calendar, Easter Sunday opens the door onto the Easter season, which culminates fifty days later on Pentecost Sunday. But whatever your faith walk, spring is surely a season of celebration: tissue-paper pinks of the redbud trees; vibrant reds and yellows of the Indian blankets; deep, serene blues and purples of the bluebonnets.

And our current world climate makes celebration times especially needful. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: “With the fearful strain that is on me day and night, if I did not laugh I should die.” The joy of the Lord is, indeed, our strength.

How we rock our Celebration Time is as individual as our souls. Below are some possibilities:

  1. Put on some dance music and let loose.
  2. Read a book just for fun (that’s right—the one you’ve been eyeing in the grocery store).
  3. Call someone you’ve not spoken to in a while. Laugh together over good memories.
  4. Create something that delights you (you knew that one was coming).
  5. Cook a feast, invite some friends, and watch Chocolat or Babette’s Feast.
  6. Dress up—even if it means wearing that new stunner to the grocery store (the produce section deserves our respect).
  7. Go on, belt it out! Studies show that singing eases depression.

So…Cut loose.

Party.

Fiesta.

It’s Celebration Time—come on!

Advertisements

Hosting a Party an Introvert Can Enjoy

He arrives late—a survival skill he’s developed over the years. “Good to see you,” welcomes his host. “Introduce yourself around.”

Gazing across the partying crowd, he feels that familiar squeeze to the gut. Maybe he can just back himself out the door…

But he wades in, introducing himself to one disinterested partier after another. After several aborted attempts at party banter, he retreats to a corner, pulls out his cell phone and presses the “Angry Birds” app. Painfully aware of the laughing crowd enjoying themselves without him, he takes out a few green pigs and checks the time. Still too early to leave.

He makes an extended bathroom visit. After an hour and one minute, he murmurs thanks to his host and escapes, convinced that he is the most uninteresting man in the world.

With the holiday party season upon us, I thought I’d speak a word for us introverted invitees. I’m convinced most people throw parties because they value their guests and want them to enjoy themselves in community.  And with some planning, a host’s introverted friends can enjoy the party instead of feeling they’re doing time. A host might:

1. Invite us to help. Whether it’s refilling drinks or snacks, handing out name tags, or supervising a party project (like getting signatures on a huge birthday card), a task provides us a reason to meet new people.  Plus, letting us help takes pressure off you and enables us to feel valued at your party. Win win!

2. Provide solitary activities. Unlike extroverts, who charge their soul batteries through interpersonal interactions, we introverts require solitude for restoration. Provide us a recharge zone: a gallery of photos at a birthday party or anniversary; a journal to write in at a shower; or, at your holiday party, a creative outlet, such as ornament making or cookie baking.

3. Supply interactive options. Introverts step outside our comfort zone when we enter your party. Meet us halfway by providing something in addition to food, drink, and party banter. A televised sporting event or film to view lets us participate without constantly making conversation. The same applies to karaoke or group games. We make supportive audience members and, with the right encouragement, might even step up on stage and belt out “Freebird.”

4. Be a host. Introduce us to a potential friend by helping us connect. “X, this is my good friend, Y. Y does computer graphics and I’ve never seen her without a book. With your shared love of reading and things technological, I thought you might like to tell her about your new blog.” Then stick around until the conversation takes on life. We will arise and call you blessed.

When planning an inclusive party, it just comes down to standing in your friend’s shoes. Your introverted friend really does want to party—and he really is quite interesting.  A party that values your friend as the person s/he is: now there’s something to celebrate.

You Gave Me the Moon

You gave me the moon.

I came to you, heart-scarred and bleeding.
Words tumbled out; we stepped on them as dust beneath our feet
and walked on.

I fixed our dinner—
it came from the oven, edges burnished by heat
Steam sighing as our forks dipped in—
and could think of nothing to say.

I said something anyway,
So that the silence would not fall and crush us all.
And you saw my eyes.

The evening passed, not gently as it does when life fits,
But in halts and forced starts:
as I played out an ill-fitting role in a bad production.
Pretending it was real.
And you moved beside me as if I were Someone.

And, at last, we sat side by side,
I secreting tears of knowing myself not known.
And you saw.

And then I could bear my waking no longer,
and pushed the toothbrush into my mouth,
counting in foam the moments till I could be unknown even to myself.

“Come here.”
“I am brushing my teeth.”
“I know. Come here while you do it.”

You opened the blinds in our darkened room.
And showed me the moon, slatted and shining in the black sky.
It was neither yellow nor silver, but something other.
Wholly itself and sharp in its sheen.

We lay and watched its otherness.

Between bouts of troubled waking, I slept.
I woke early, while the sky still brushed charcoal across our blinds,
and I remembered, even before the day began—

You gave me the moon.

For my husband, David