So, this post is a week overdue. No excuses – except that this has been a very busy week, following a very busy weekend, and I just haven’t had time to write it!
But I did want to write about the Pudding Party. Inspired by the fast I did in June, I had planned it as ‘an evening dedicated to the sweeter things in life: friendship and desserts‘ – and it was also an opportunity to make life a little sweeter for others by raising funds for Food Stop (my local Food Bank) and for refugees.
Despite an unfortunate clash with another event, I was thrilled by how many friends and neighbours were able to come. We were blessed with the weather, which meant that we could use the garden as well as the house – and no-one was forced to endure the Live Aid induced 80’s reminiscence in the front room. Although I think that those who did, enjoyed it!
The garden also provided an opportunity to add an additional dessert: S’mores. Although there was often more smoke than flame and they didn’t taste quite as good as I remember them.
However, I think there was more than enough on offer to satisfy even the sweetest of teeth – the table certainly didn’t look like this by the end of the night!
In the end, the event raised £180 – shared equally across the two good causes. But it was about far more than the money, as far as I was concerned.
I love cooking and trying out new recipes. So there was no real hardship for me in spending the considerable amount of time it took to pull everything together. It just took some careful planning -and the willingness to forego sleep – to make sure it happened! Someone at work said to me ‘I don’t know how you can be bothered. Couldn’t you just make a donation?’ Well, I could – but then I would have missed out on the opportunity to share a lovely evening, to bring people together, to maybe raise a bit more than I could have afforded to contribute on my own.
Simplify 7 was – and continues to be – a personal exploration into what God is saying to me and how he wants me to live my life. At times, when I was getting ready for it, the Pudding Party was anything but simplifying. But what I’m learning is that ‘simple’ doesn’t mean ‘easy’ – not always, anyway.
The simple part is that it feels really good to open my home and share – especially when the outcome is that others will benefit too. Right now, it feels unlikely that I will meet one of the local families who will benefit from three days worth of help from Food Stop when they need it most. And the refugee crisis is so immense that the £90 I can now send is scarcely a drop in the ocean. I know that. But it’s better than doing nothing – and the love and support I have had from friends and family, as well as people I hardly know, is enough to inspire me to do more. I hope it inspires lots more people too.
I’m sure lots of you will already be familiar with the story of the boy and the starfish. If not, you can read it here (or plenty of other places on the internet). It’s about doing what we can – even when we feel that ‘what we can’ isn’t going to make much of a difference. That’s the simple bit.
I believe that God honours those efforts, the willingness to do what we can. Whether it is fasting and praying, or holding a fundraising party, or whatever else he might ask me to do in the future…I don’t have the big picture, but he does.
I’m learning to overcome the fear that whatever I do won’t be good enough or might just be a waste of time. Right now, I’m also learning that while it might be much more convenient (and simple) for me to switch off the news, get on with my own life and pretend that there isn’t an awful lot of suffering in the world…that doesn’t seem to be in God’s plan for me. I’m not sure what the next step will be, but I’m getting ready to take it.
And yes, there might well be another Pudding Party!