How to Ruin a Surprise Party without Really Trying

Three girls having tea party at Grace McMonagle's house, probably Seattle, Washington

The voice on the other end of the line was filled with disgust.

“Oh.  You’re the one who ruined Matt’s birthday.”

I felt very small as I gave the only excuse I could, “Well, it wasn’t actually his birthday.”

What it was, was a surprise visit his college girlfriend was making to the house he was sharing with a bunch of guys in Seattle the summer I was shepherding 12-year-olds at nerd camp in Evanston.  Confusion about the date of the surprise led me to ask in an email how the visit (which hadn’t yet happened) had gone.

Terrible.  I know.  Terrible.

My friend was perfectly gracious about my mistake.  (“If I hadn’t known she was coming, I never would have gone along to the airport that night.”)  But his housemate’s reproach hit home.  I was the one who ruined the surprise.

I have no poker face.  When there is News, I want to share it.  When I’m telling a great joke, I spill the punchline early at least half the time.  Even when I try to keep a secret, I usually fail.

So it was with especially great joy that I attended a surprise birthday party for my wonderful church organist on Saturday.  I had known about it since Thanksgiving.  I see this woman at least once a week.  And never, not once, did I breathe a word about it.

Never did I ask, “Doing anything special for your birthday?”

Never did I mention, “So, I hear your brother’s coming up from Omaha.”

Not once did I say, “Well, I know you’re busy on February 11th.”

It was a lovely party.

And even though the organist says she’ll never trust me again, I didn’t ruin it.

Kinderen rond kersttulband met kaars



Filed under Marvelous Miscellany

6 responses to “How to Ruin a Surprise Party without Really Trying

  1. Keith

    There’s a great evangelism sermon in this… 🙂 I love the idea that we can’t keep the secret…. With all the “messianic secret” passages in Mark, you should have a chance to work it in. Peace.


  2. The nice thing is when they say they’ll never trust you again after something like that, it’s almost always with a great big smile. I can stand losing trust like that 🙂


  3. I usually can’t wait either. I give hints….usually they’re too good. 🙂


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