I share these sentiments with not so that you feel sorry for us (perish the thought!) but because I know that many of you can relate to Grad Open House Angst, or you have ridden that roller coaster in the recent past.
The landscaping projects that were so neatly planned out months ago; the yard work that you were so meticulously going to get to (this year the grass in the backyard is not going to die!); the house that was going to be cleaned from attic to basement; and oh yes, let’s not forget the garage, that last bastion of refuge where you keep all your stuff before it needs to be surrendered to Goodwill, or
tossed to the dump…that, too,
By some miracle that rivals the parting of the Red Sea, three years of deferred maintenance got done in three weeks. The garage is not only cleaned and organized, but a long-put- off rewiring job is done. Over-grown, dead lilacs wrapped with buckthorn were cut out, while healthy trees were pruned. A decrepit swingset that you could not bring yourself to tear down (because it reminds you of your child’s childhood) finally receives last rites. Walls receive much needed paint, and the carpet is not only vacuumed but steam cleaned!
And then there are the countless chores that need to be done days, and then hours, before the guests walk through the door. The displays of pictures marking her progress from the day she was born until she walked down the graduation aisle, the cake, the 1919 root beer keg, the setting of tables and chairs, balloons and table cloths, shade awnings, and the renting of whatever couldn’t be borrowed from family and friends.
And of those worldly possessions that still remain in your garage but need to “get-out-of-the-way?” They were to the neighbor’s garage, where he will gladly hide your stuff, as two years from now he will be asking you to do the same thing for him for his daughter’s graduation open house!
Why do we do all this? At least two words come to mind: accountability and love. What better way to make sure that you will ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH on your good intentions than to have 152 of your closest family and friends over for inspection.
But it can’t end with just accountability, any more than God’s Word can end with just law and demands. The accountability needs to be smothered and covered with love; the unconditional love that says: Welcome, we are so glad you have come! Welcome, all is ready; come celebrate with us this wonderful occasion!
Preparing for the invited guests shakes us up, and awakens us from the inertia of our lives, so that the outcome of a clean house, and a well manicured yard, is translated into three simple words: I love you.