My friend had meticulously planned a party and it seemed she had attended to every possible detail. Banners were hung, thematic cocktails were lovingly prepared, a loop revealing fun facts about the day’s event was playing over and over on TVs in several rooms. Even the hand soap in her bathroom had been ordered online weeks prior to accommodate the theme for the gathering. She loves hosting, and it showed.
In the kitchen, I helped her with some last minute details as the first guests were arriving. (I was uncomfortably among the first to arrive and the last to leave – hardly a trademark I strive for, but one I embraced that day.) I went to grab something from the fridge, and the magnetic dry erase board affixed to the front of it caught my eye. The board was a list of items entitled “Family Meeting” and it went something like this: 1) Healthy beverage choices; 2) Wiping; 3) Fun summer activities.
Not being able to resist, I made an inquiry about the second item on the list, and wondered aloud if this item pertained to Dad or one of the children. We laughed as we noted the irony that this was in fact “number two” on the list. My friend explained that her youngest child had taken a stance that wiping was optional, and said stance was “just gross.” I told her that I loved, loved, loved that she kept the list front and center on the fridge for her meticulously planned party. She said she thought about taking it down, but then thought, “Why bother? It is what it is.”
As I reflected on this later, I thought how much I admire this about my friend. She’s right! Maybe we don’t all have problems with wiping (God help us if we do), but we all have something. In fact, I would argue that we all have a whole lot of somethings. Why we do bother trying to hide any part of ourselves from the people around us, especially those who care? My friend may not even know it, but her decision to be herself, unapologetically – to not only accept “what is” but to hang it out there for the whole world to see – is the perfect depiction of freedom. It’s a freedom I think might look good on all of us. Let’s try, shall we?