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The Final Tea Party

By: Kathleen Kjolhaug

The yellow clouded plastic stood guard, protecting the cloth beneath it. Within the dining space stood the table of grace, covered with cloth, covered with plastic. Atop the plastic were mismatched cups and saucers.

Timidly, I sat among the guests. Friends?  Foes? Who knew?

Mom had been invited, but suggested that I should attend as the host was my friend, too. And so, I did. I suppose it was the proper thing to do…to accept the invitation. Yet, the underlying whispers suggested those in attendance were not quite sure of what to make of things.

She was the doctor’s wife in town. To be invited into her home would have been an honor, years back. Doc had been gone for some time now, and their home stood museum like. The pieces of furniture remained in place like honor guards keeping watch.                                                                                                                                       

Each person sat proper like around the table making feeble attempts at small talk. About what, I do not know, but remember I do the hostess scuttling back and forth from kitchen to table for treats to treat her guests.

Upon entering her home, the smell of fried potatoes sizzling in butter stovetop is imprinted within my memory. However, today, there were no such sights or smells as she offered up cookies upon a platter, along with more tea.

Apron hanging from neck while ties dangled delicately created movement as she silently served. Slightly bent she moved from one to the next while the quiet round the table hit obnoxious levels as the awkward silence kept time.

Truth-be-told, times had changed and the women present desired to be anywhere but. Politeness was heavy within the room as those who had come not only did not know one another all that well, but by outward appearances, neither were they interested in forcing friendships.

As soon as their respects were paid, they excused themselves one by one. Looks were passed among them, and I sat disheartened by the hearts before me…for surely this lady of the hour deserved better. Nothing less than love’s pure light would she be worthy of, and although she did not receive what I thought her due, she was not aware as she thanked them for coming.

It was her final tea party. She remained within her home for a few more years, but those who stopped by were mostly family. No doubt, she served them plenty while in return they served her cause that’s how it usually goes. Duly noted was the fruit of her labor and the fruit of theirs…gentleness, kindness, humility. They poured naturally forth.

We, too, follow suit. The One who laid it down for us speaks about it in Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

For when it’s all said and done… the fruit is His, but the obedience is ours…no matter how it is received.  Amen.