Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Why Behind the Tea Party

Yesterday I posted about an upcoming event that is near and dear to my heart: The FHU Associates' Victorian Tea Party. (And almost blew a mental fuse over incomprehensible formatting issues. But that's entirely beside the point. Moving on.) I first fell in love with this tea party eight years ago, the very first year it was held. My friend Ashley and I went together, to celebrate her birthday, I think, which was a few days later. I remember that it was perfect-beyond-perfect weather and we sat, for HOURS, at a tea table in the backyard of the elegant Hardeman House. A portion of the time we sat with Beverly and Olivia Bradford, I also remember. It was so nice to sit and enjoy talking and trying cute little foods and sipping tea. So nice that, not even a month later, I told the committee chair, Debbie McLaughlin, that I would love to be on the committee. And I've been on it ever since.

There have been years that I've thought, "I'm SO incredibly busy that I can't possibly have time to be on the tea party committee this year, too. HOW will I get everything done?" But I just couldn't imagine not being involved. And we have the most fun committee meetings EVER. In the history of the world. I cannot lie. There are scones involved. This year we even had a scone party at one of our meetings, which I think we could present as a separate event at another time - and raise money at that, too! Yes, we audition our recipes - we make notes and tweak and experiment separately and together. At one of our meetings we have a tea-tasting to select which two teas we will serve that year. Debbie, the Queen of the tea party, a rare person whose CPA tendencies intersect quite well with her creativity, has made a spreadsheet to keep track of which teas are the most popular at our tea-tastings. This year we will be serving Madame Butterfly Jasmine, a green tea with jasmine. It is impossibly delicious. It almost reminds me of taking a sip of honeysuckle. Normally, I am not a green tea person. It is much too bland...but with jasmine or citrus or peppermint, well, that's a whole 'nother story! And the other tea we're serving is Norfolk Blend, a more streamlined black tea, which is also very good. Streamlined = no flowers or fruity flavors, for those of you who cannot stand to drink anything flowery. And that's O.K., I previously did not enjoy fruity or flowery teas. And some...I still don't. For instance, rose tea...ah, wouldn't you think it would taste so delightful and sweet? Sigh. It doesn't. It soooo doesn't. It tastes pretty icky. Also, strawberry tea tastes like Robitussin...I am here to warn you. You learn lots of things at many years of tea-tastings. =)

Well, anyway. The actual event is lovely, the hours of planning are lots of fun (for the most part), and I just adore a good tea party. But, over the years, this tea party has become...more than that for me. It represents spending a part of yourself...your time, your energy, your ideas...on something important. Something that's not over with after the event is over. See, the whole point of everything that the Freed-Hardeman University Associates do, all year long, every year...is to raise money for the school. Specifically for student scholarships. Over the years, the Associates have raised over THREE million dollars for FHU. That's nothing to shake a stick at. They've provided money for building buildings and other projects, but mostly, there are the scholarships. Money given to worthy students who would like to receive a Christian education, but might not be able to afford it otherwise. I have fallen completely in love with that idea. I love it because I loved being a student at FHU. And while my dad is a professor there and I received free tuition and, yes, I was one of the lucky ones, I know that if I hadn't been in that situation, I would have done everything I could have to still attend FHU. Which would have meant scholarships, in a big way.

The tea party has become of utmost importance to me because it's something that I enjoy, that I can do, that I'm good at...and it's something that truly MATTERS. It makes an actual difference in young adults' lives. And when you're a teenager and you're trying to "find yourself," it's an excellent time to also find God, if you haven't already - or to get to know Him more deeply. I have always been partial to one of FHU's logos: Learning How to Live and How to Make a Living. How perfect is that?? Because, when you get down to it, you've got to make a living. For many people, the answer is college. But when you can attend a college that also shows you how to LIVE, how can you turn that down? Sure, some godly people have attended state schools and community colleges. Of course they have. (My husband is one of them. He's one of four kids and he didn't think he could afford FHU, even though he knew a lot of people who came here to school. I so wish he had known about Associates' scholarships.) Speak of the "bubble" if you will, but you've got the rest of your life to live outside it. And the Bible charges us with taking the gospel to everyone we come into contact with. It's a beautiful thought that young adults have the opportunity to be strengthened - and then to strengthen in return. When you consider the whole scheme of things...the big picture...that we're here only a very short time and for a very specific purpose, well, Christian education seems one of the most worthy causes to work toward.

No, I don't get paid for my work with the FHU Associates...I don't get paid with actual green money anyway. But never you fear, I do get paid nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. You are truly passionate about FHU; it shows in your writing. :-) It is indeed a blessed place for young people to learn and be reinforced with the knowledge of the love of God.
    The scones aren't bad either!!!


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