I Want to Keep Our Glasses Full

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One of the most memorable dinner parties I attended while in college in Paris was a gathering hosted by a British couple who had lived in the city for years. I knew them from church, though the guest list was curated by a close friend of mine. Because they lived in a neighborhood I didn’t often visit, I padded my commute time on the metro. I arrived about fifteen minutes after we were told to be there with a box of chocolates from my local
chocolaterie in hand as a hostess gift.

Unsurprisingly, I was the first to arrive. In a culture of French-British-American views of time, promptness was an interesting cultural idea to navigate. Our hostess greeted me and poured a glass of champagne. We settled in on the couch to chat as her husband put the finishing touches our multi-course meal.

We chatted for quite some time before I realized I had completely gotten the time of our party wrong! I accidently planned my route a whole hour before we were supposed to be there! I gasped out an apology to our hostess who graciously waved it away as she topped my champagne flute with sparkling wine.

That simple act of filling my glass and keeping the conversation going has stuck with me. How can I extend such easy hospitality to those around me? I remember feeling as though she had wanted me to come early, just so we could get to know each other a bit better.

This social-faux pas-turned-life-lesson in gracious hosting came to mind the other day as our SheLoves editorial team chatted about the “Potluck of Deconstruction.” We had been talking about popular imagery of building longer tables, of moving toward picnics in the woods or on the shore or in an open field. We wondered who would bring food to this potluck; someone has to provide the goodies, after all.

My first thought was that I would bring champagne, of course. It’s a rare day that we don’t have a bottle of bubbles in the fridge, ready to celebrate. I love starting meals with champagne and ending celebrations with it. I need the tangible reminder that life is to be celebrated and champagne helps me look at my everyday moments with awe and hope.

In the metaphor of deconstruction, this works as well. As someone rooted in history and context, I often lean into the past. I look for connections and threads to current events and thoughts and those that have already come. It gives me hope and comfort to know that we are not the first society to mess things up, nor will we be the last. In a lot of ways, I bring the champagne to the potluck – that first sip of bubbles is an invitation for everyone to relax and enjoy themselves. I remind people not to worry too much – we’ve been here before and we’ll be here again.

As I remember the moment at that dinner party, so many years ago, when my flute was topped up and I was made to feel at ease, I realize this is how I want to live my life. Whether you come an hour early or hours late, I want the champagne to be ready and waiting.

As we go into this new year of learning and constructing our faith, I want to invite people into the conversation, regardless of when they show up. I want to keep their glasses full, to offer celebration at the work we are doing, and reminders that we are one small piece of a global puzzle.

 

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