Written on December 17, 2015. By Shari Norvell
She glanced over her shoulder once more on her way out of the room, unable to find words for her feelings. Stunned was too much, yet surprised was too little. Whatever lay between them must be how she felt. But the word didn’t seem hers to grab hold of and so she let the emotion of it bump and banter around for a while.
This was an ordinary day, like most were for her. Except, this one seemed to hold a little more inside it. Tonight was the annual holiday celebration a group of her friends hosted. She had never been, always finding an excuse that let her beg out of attending. But this year, for some inexplicable reason, she wanted to go.
She saved all her extras for months until they became an amount extravagant enough for a dream dress. After she traded her hard earned treasure for the dress, she brought it home and hung it in the middle of the little alcove of her bedroom, like a mobile made just for that spot. Every morning as the sun peeked through her windows, the dress gathered the rays and seemed to send them out once more, full of glittering color.
She walked into her room, catching sight of the dress on her way to sit down for a few moments before she finished getting ready. As the last glimmers of the day danced upon it, she thought about how different this evening would be than she originally thought. She wouldn’t be going to the holiday party after all.
For when the day’s sunrise was just creeping up to her door, she remembered the invitation she had received a few weeks before but not looked at since. It hadn’t come in the mail, been tied with a ribbon or kissed with a seal of wax. It lay even now upon the page of her journal, where she had recorded it. Word for word. Written exactly as the invitation was given.
She knew if she opened her tattered little book and turned to that page, her day would turn upside down. But she couldn’t help herself. She had to know if what she suspected was true. Heart pounding and fingers trembling, she turned to the page. Her breath escaped like that of a balloon let go when its has not yet been tied. The date of the invitation was today. This day. For the evening that lay like a field before her. And she knew absolutely, which event she would attend.
Her friends didn’t quite understand when she called to say she wouldn’t be there. Had they not been in the midst of their preparations, they might have pressed her for more. As it was, they accepted her fumbled explanation that she had another invitation she had forgotten and she simply could not, not go.
The end of the call found tears streaming down her cheeks, though she wasn’t sad. She in fact, felt happier than she could remember being for so long. Suddenly she wanted to dance more than anything. Before she even realized it, she had cascaded through her entire apartment. It wasn’t until she sat for a moment to catch her breath that she realized she had forgotten to turn any music on. The hum of her heart carried her to every corner. Once back to where she started, her preparations for the evening began. And as they did, she realized she wasn’t excited. She was happy. She has forgotten there was such a thing.
She felt to view the invitation once more.
You are invited to an encounter for two
We will meet where I first found you
With treasures and trinkets from within your home
Prepare the table so our hearts may roam
Nothing will be missing from our destined date
Wear your new dress and don’t forget my plate
Sitting for a moment at the place she was found, she realized how differently she had viewed that table for the past years. A hand me down from her grandmother is what it had become. But a place of wonder was what it had been. At the table her grandmother had told her story upon story of the One of her heart. Not just stories of old, but of her own. Encounters and explorations of majesty and delight.
Somehow that table had become the odd fixture of her home with it’s scratch filled top and mismatched chairs. With a racing heart she began searching through drawers and cubbies. Her mothers lace tablecloth, her favorite aunt’s candlestick holders and the some dishes from her grandmother’s china each took their place, adorning the table. She wondered why she had never used them before. They were for special occasions. Had she really not felt anything was special enough for them to make their way out of hiding places and forgotten holdings? The final touch to the table were the plates. Tenderly, she placed hers upon the surface. And then His. Her breath caught and tears filled her eyes as she laid his down for reasons she couldn’t quite explain.
She stood, suspended in the beauty before her, created from what she had. From what was already there, but she had refused to see. With one more glance, she made her way to her room and the dress that awaited her like a long lost friend.
Timidly, she walked back to the table and sat down. Not knowing what to do exactly, she lit the candles. And then, she began to feel a bit silly. Had she really given up what she had planned because of a few words in her journal? Sitting before full candles and empty plates, she took a deep breath, preparing to let it launch with a stern scolding for her foolishness, but was stopped short by a knock at the door.
She rushed to it faster than she meant to, and fast enough to catch whoever had tapped. Her open door revealed no one, yet upon her stoop was a lovely bag with food, flowers and a note.
Let the fragrance fill the air
Eat every bite of this fine fare
When you are done, open your heart’s gate
And utterly, completely, fill My plate
At first, she couldn’t move, she barely breathed. Then, though she didn’t know quite what compelled her, she began to eat. Bite by bite. Morsel by morsel, until no crumb remained. She was so satisfied, fuller than she had ever been. So full that she couldn’t contain the raging rapids behind her heart’s door any longer. Tenderly and tenaciously, she took his plate. It felt like the strongest, most fragile thing she had ever held. Helplessness tried to take over. She had no idea how to fill His plate. She had laid everything she had before Him in order to set the table. Lightning crashed and thunder rolled. She saw, she knew, she understood. She had lived with cupboards full because of Him and not once filled His plate. Not once told Him how utterly empty she would be without Him.
It was then she saw the pen. She grasped it with all her might and began to scribe upon the plate every meditation from the sanctuary of her heart. Each word came with a whisper and a tear. When she was spent, she laid down the pen and saw, His plate was full.
Ask Pappa to give you an invitation. Journal it word for word. Exactly what He says. And then, RSVP. Complete the invitation by responding to it.
Be as creative as you can! Find a plate in your cupboard or where ever He highlights. Let it be His plate from now on and fill it every day. I kept mine simple today, simply grabbing a favorite plate and writing on it with a dry erase marker. I took a picture so that tomorrow I can “erase” and write again.