Surprise! We think you’re great!

30 Apr

I have this chronic need to be liked. Maybe it’s normal; maybe it isn’t. Maybe I should change; maybe it’s OK. At any rate, you would think that someone like me would be a huge fan of being the center of attention. That I would look for ways to be the center of attention at all costs is—in fact—an assumption that many, who meet me, make. Yet, there is something that prohibits me from wanting to celebrate trivial things, like say, my birthday.

I cannot give a precise reason as to why, but I think it has something to do with not wanting to force people to give me dap. If they are going to praise me, I want it to not be because I tell them a simple fact about me, like today is the anniversary of my birth or I just made a sale or I have a pretty wife or any of another of a myriad of good things about my life that I could say. Now before I talk too much about my own neurosis, let me get down to the real subject.

The Surprise Birthday party. To me, it is the best of any potential party. It allows people to celebrate me, where I had absolutely nothing to do with the encouragement to do so. If they are giving mad props for the reason that it is my birthday and I had absolutely nothing to do with their desire to do it, then it makes me feel that the love is genuine. And genuine love can never be shortchanged, nor should it be discounted. It is an awesome gift!

Lest you think this is a (wink, wink) appeal for my readers to throw me a surprise party, I can assure you that my birthday is nowhere near this time. I am safely in the catregory of 35 (and I haven’t even earned the “half” my kids are always trying to claim). And if you want to throw me a surprise anniversary party, you had better include my wife in the planning, as she is not a fan of being the recipient of a surprise party. And including the subject of a surprise party is just kinda lame.;)

I am thinking about this, because this weekend was one of surprise parties. My friend was judging the Sunshine State Association of Christian Schools, music and speech contest. I was giving a ride back and had to speak with the whole family, as they were planning a surprise gathering. I hope it went well and wasn’t rescheduled to tonight!

On the other hand, I spent Friday evening with Paige Cousins, who was turning 40 and having a surprise party. I think she was truly surprised, but the thing that really struck me is that she didn’t need to be. She had a husband (by the way, Jeff, I’m not sure I like you setting the bar so high for the rest of us human husbands) who planned an evening to honor her. There were forty or so guests there to pay tribute to her wonderful life (not to mention the forty or so more who joined by video).

That is the beauty of the surprise party. I read today that the idea stems from cultures where people were killed after a party in their honor, but I think that is just an untrue rumor, based on the fact that people are usually only honored in such a way at their funeral. The reality is that when honored appropriately, people are more alive after such a party. And, in this particular case, I felt honored to have played a very small role in such a noteworthy life.

When a group of people come together to say, “This is Your Life” and we want to be proud of you, it is an incredible thing. To me, the crying shame is that so often we wait until someone has passed away to gather in their honor to say wonderful things about them. The surprise party is the first fix of such a travestical system, and I am glad that it was brought to my attention again this weekend!


One Response to “Surprise! We think you’re great!”

  1. Jenni April 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    I love that you love surprise parties.

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