Last night we were invited to a friend’s 40th. It was one of those surprise parties. Her husband organized the whole thing, in secret, without her knowing a thing. “Mum’s the word” said Cyrus, “Don’t tell a soul.” We wouldn’t dare. So we turned up in time and joined with the other guests to wait for Ruth on the back lawn. Goodness, there were a lot of people!
Then the announcement came, “Quiet everyone – she’s here!” Ruth is led blind-folded through the house to the back lawn where we were all waiting. The blindfold comes off and we all shout “Surprise!” You should have seen her face. What a moment! We all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and then Cyrus did something which I thought was really, really special.
He stood up on a seat and began to tell everyone how special Ruth was to him. I can’t quote word-for-word but it went something like this:
“Thank you all for coming here tonight. I’m truly thankful for Ruth because she is the most wonderful person in the world. She is warm-hearted, loving, generous, gracious, kind, and helpful. She’s a great wife and mother. But the thing I love about Ruth the most is she loves her God – she really does. The Lord Jesus Christ means everything to her.”
I whispered to myself, “Good on you Cyrus.” Cyrus did two very manly things that evening: 1) He honoured his wife – publicly. There was no doubt in any one’s mind that he esteemed Ruth very highly. 2) He honoured Jesus – publicly. And there were a lot of people who were not followers of Jesus there. I had just talked to a few of them. They didn’t get preached at. They just got the message that Christ is at the centre of this marriage and this home.
I got to talk to some very interesting people, and got into some interesting conversations. I met Cyrus’ neighbour. I learned we were both ex-tradesmen. We laughed about how soft our hands had become now that we had desk jobs. Then I talked to a young teen who won a T-shirt that day at a skating competition. I asked him how many times he fell off. “Not too much,” he said. His brother, who was standing next to him said, “He’s REALLY good.” Then I met a politician’s wife. We talked about family and life in the public spotlight. Then her husband joined us and he and my son Luke talked about how to solve New Zealand’s social problems.
All in all, I had a really enjoyable evening. After I got home I reflected on what made it so good. This is what I came up with:
- There is something right and fitting when a man gets up and honors his wife in public. I must do this more often – not just at birthdays and anniversaries. You set a fine example for us Cyrus.
- It’s really worthwhile, at any social gathering, to make the effort to talk to people you don’t know – whatever their age. You never know who you’ll meet and where the conversation might go.
- If you are throwing a party, don’t be stingy. There was no shortage of food and drink, and there was something for everyone – even the kids.
- If you are a Christian, make the effort to make friends with those who aren’t. Draw them into your life. Let them see the real you. Then, when you get up and tell people publicly that you love God, it actually means something.
Thanks Ruth and Cyrus, for letting Francelle and I be part of your lives. You’re a great example to us all.