Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A special invitation!

For those non-Spanish speaking amongst us, this is the invitation we received from the American Embassy here in Madrid to join the Ambassador and his wife celebrating Independence day! (hey man I´m British..why am I celebrating this? Should I even be celebrating this??!!!!)

We enjoyed the honour of joining the almost 400 guests to savour great American delicacies such as hamburgers, donuts and Starbucks coffee with the overtures of a live country band filling the warm summer air! There was the traditional singing of the national anthem and flag raising, as well as a speech from the Ambassador!

The invitation said to go dressed up in either red, white or blue, or with a Western Theme! I went as a cowgirl together with hat and boots. I really did look the part (and hopefully soon will be able to get that photo off my sister´s camera and onto this post!!!) Little did I know my outfit would cause me problems later!!! Stephan being more "responsible" (or boring!!) went low key!

There were American Military people there dressed in their white uniforms (thought of you Grandpa Gordon!!!) who had so many badges and medals on their jackets that they were almost falling off! There were other ambassadors and those in high places, and then there was us!!!!

As I was standing on the red carpet nervously waiting for my turn to shake the ambassador´s hand, I was watching attentively how those before me were greeting this important man and contemplating all amount of questions like, why am I here? No, why was I born??!!!!

I wished that someone had run me through protocol by the security check at the door, but here I was and I had no idea what I was meant to do. No amount of coaxing from my dh seemed to calm the butterfly storm that was raging inside my stomach!

"Don´t worry...they´re just people like you and me!!" he whispered into my ear, but like Fred says on the Lucy show, I said to myself... "Yeah they may be people...but they are not like you and me!!!!"

It seemed that all the people before us in the line were close friends, because he asked after their sons and daughters etc! I knew I couldn´t follow that example.. so I pretty much had to go it alone! (no amount of watching The West Wing was gonna help me on this!!)

In front of the greeting party stood a row of journalists and camera men eagerly waiting to snap photos of all those important guests as they greeted the Ambassador and it was no surprize that as we stepped up to the Ambassador and his wife, they all took a coffee break!

As I mentioned, I was all dressed up in my cowgirl outfit, but what I hadn´t anticipated was that the Ambassador would be wearing a big white Stetson! So as we attempted to do the Spanish two kisses thing, we inevitably bumped hats!!!! I could have kicked myself for not thinking of taking mine off before I reached him, so this made actually saying anything outside of, "Opps I am very sorry!", pretty much obsolete! !

I managed to fumble my way onto greeting his wife who looked in my eyes with an expression of "Who the heck is this woman and why is she at my party!??!!" but graciously shook my hand anyway. In turn this was followed by what felt like an eternal minute of greeting more people who stood in the line who also entertained expressions of "How on earth did these people get on the invitation list?!!"

Then the ordeal was done!! I guess I could sum up the experience by saying that we reveled in the honour of being invited more than the actual party itself!

It made me think of the invitation we all have to celebrate at Christ´s table when he returns and how I will feel about attending that celebration!

I won´t have to worry about protocol as I stand on the red carpet waiting to meet the Lord. I know He will know my name and He won´t have an expression on his face of, "Who is this and why is she here?" I will be overwhelmed with excitement and not anxiety as I wait in turn to greet him. I will run into his arms and feel confident that He will love me in return. It won´t matter if we bump hats!

He will be just as happy to see me as I Him, and the honour of being with Him will far outweigh the joy of the invitation! He is more important than any King, Ambassador or Politician, and I am his daughter! I not only have the right to be at the party but he wants me there!

He can´t wait for my turn in line to greet me and He feels the same way about you too!!!