Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bride and Brejudice

A few days ago, Ray told me that some friends of his family wanted to drop by and bless our house. For those of you who may not know, Ray and I got married about 5 months ago. Apparently, it's a custom for family and friends to come and bless the house of newlyweds. No one ever told me this. Also, I'm not very keen on entertaining. I'm not too confident in my cooking skills and my idea of hospitality is very different to the hospitality that I've been shown in this area of the world. For example, if friends come over to my house, they are more than welcome to act the same as they would in their own home, open my fridge, eat my food, take a nap on my bed, whatever. In contrast, whenever I've gone to any local friends' houses, I was shown to a special room for receiving guests and waited on by a maid. Obviously, my idea of the way guests should be treated is not normal here. 

So when Ray said his long-time family friends had invited themselves over to our house, I wasn't exactly thrilled. I freaked out a little, immediately thinking, "I don't know how to cook! I don't know how to entertain, much less entertain Arab family friends who are probably expecting something amazing! We don't have enough plates so we'll have to use paper! Our house is just a small studio! Why are people inviting themselves over to our house?? That's so rude!" (Where I come from, it's not nice to invite yourself over to someone's house...another example of my ideals that  aren't normal here). Ray, very sweetly, reminded me of what part of the world I'm living in, and gently let me know that I was being culturally insensitive.

I came home from work today and insisted on having a bad attitude while I cleaned up the house and prepared for our guests. Since I really don't know how to cook, we just got some take-out Lebanese food. At some point, Ray asked me, "What can I do to make you feel okay about this?" Again, I decided to be a jerk and say, "Nothing. I'm just going to feel this way. But don't worry, I'll be nice." He wasn't happy with my response, but I assured him he had no choice.

Finally, our guests arrived. I forgot my bad attitude and my ideals when I realized they were incredibly nice. They were totally cool about the fact that we just had take-out and complimented our tiny house without being the least bit sarcastic. I had expected that the evening would be a drag, but instead it flew by. Before the couple left, they prayed for our house and our marriage. I felt quite humbled and ashamed about my bad attitude.

"See, it wasn't so bad, was it?" Ray asked me when they left. No, it was actually really nice.

We closed the front door and found an envelope on the table. Inside was a card, congratulating us on our marriage, and a large amount of money--enough for a plane ticket to the U.S. We've been low on cash lately and worried about whether or not we'll both be able to make the trip this summer. Not only did God provide money that we needed, but he also demolished my bad attitude, taught me that not all my ideals are acctually ideal, and let me meet some really sweet people. I am thankful.

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