QUOTE: “Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice.” ~ Rick Warren
I recently heard a speaker in a Focus on the Family broadcast say that there are 47 references to “widows and orphans” in the Bible (where the two groups are often paired). The verses command us to take care of them and let us know what will happen if we don’t.
Of the Party of One members, probably one third are widows—widows with different views on remarriage.
If their marriage was a good one and their grief is new, some praise their spouse, forgetting any faults and recall only moments of bliss. If their marriage was bad, they may declare they will never re-marry and that all men are bad, forgetting any moments of bliss. Most, however, remember both the good and the bad and know that it’s all part of living.
The majority of the women over 70, for multiple reasons, don’t consider remarriage an option. Those in their fifties and sixties haven’t ruled out remarriage, but they’re weighing other options, some more interesting. Some may find living alone a pleasant adventure, especially after years of raising families and caring for others. Some younger women (and men) believe that finding a mate is the only answer to their only prayer.
In all the stories, there are often (not always) two common elements: pain and loneliness. For some, the pain is fresh because they need time to heal. For others, the pain is bitter because they won’t let it go.
To be clear, the purpose of Party of One is NOT to find husbands for widows (or wives for widowers) or to even change anyone’s view on remarriage. Our goal is to relieve a little of the pain, to take away some of the loneliness, and to give them new memories to savor.
Seventeen of us went to Denny’s last week. Not a four-star dining establishment, I think we all agree. But as I often remind the Party of One-ers (myself included), it’s not about the cuisine or the venue, it’s about the fellowship.
I called Denny’s three days in advance to give a final count to reserve tables for Saturday (one of their two busiest days of the week). Somehow the manager was never told. Yet this busy man and his hosts reassured me that they would take care of us (widows and orphans)—and that they did!
In essence, it became one big board game, with servers scrambling around to move tables like chess pieces across the dining room floor. It seemed as soon as more Party of One-ers arrived, a table would vacate making room for them to be seated.
Thankfully, there wasn’t one poor sport in the bunch— in Denny’s waitstaff or in the Party of One-ers. We made a happy impression on customers who ask who we were; I was able to give them a card and invite them to join us.
With God as our champion, we all won at the Party of One. And we lessened some of the pain and loneliness for our widows.