The Red-dressed Lady

The very first night I arrived in Mexico something wonderful happened.

I was taking a guided group tour of the hotel complex here on the Pacific Ocean, and we passed by a loud-happy party. It was set up in the sand on the beach, a hard wood floor held the tables with a temporary stage at the south end. An arch of oversized tissue-paper flowers in all colors marked the guest entrance, with two bright, taller-than-me, electric letters “F and A” standing on the left side.  Peppy music, dressed up people . . . a joyful scene.

When the tour finished, my friend and I went straight back to the party. We stood along one side, spying between the palm tree trunks. Beautiful performers of all ages, spectacular dances, stunning, flowing, spinning costumes – it was a folkloric show called ‘This is Mexico!’ I loved hearing the Spanish, the announcer introducing each regional dance and outfit, describing how no other country in the world has culture like Mexico.

I couldn’t stop smiling, standing there, boldly peeking through to watch not only the show, but also enjoying all the creative decorations and the unusual-fancy party clothes. I noticed a beautiful dark-haired lady in a long red dress going from table to table, hugging everyone.

As she milled around, she saw us. From across a large table, her eyes caught mine and she smiled, and motioned with her hand for us to come in. I was embarrassed to be found out, and I smiled back, shaking my head. Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Then she came around the table, pulled out two chairs and insisted we sit. It would have been rude to refuse, right?

Wow. I didn’t belong there, but there I was.

When the wonderful show was over, we gave our seats to some real guests who’d arrived late, and tried to melt away. But on the sidewalk back to the hotel, we ‘happened’ to meet the wedding couple and the red-dressed lady. Then I knew what I had suspected: the beautiful red-dressed lady was the mother of the bride.

The three of them chatted with us for a moment, asking us to return to the party – can you believe that? – but we declined and I used my best Spanish to thank her for her kindness.

As we walked away, I was thinking: I will be a long admirer of that gracious, generous, beautiful red-dressed lady.

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I am in Mexico as part of a volunteer team, putting on a women’s retreat for global workers. We pray that the ladies who come will feel like I did that night: honored and welcomed.

Three days later, I ‘happened’ to met A. — one of the retreat attendees — who lives in this city.  A. had been at that wedding; the mother of the bride is her close friend. I learned her name, a bit of “F and A’ ‘s story (Get this: he is from Dublin!) and I was able to send a message to her.

Remember I told you? No matter where I go, God’s determined to bless me!

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