We went to have lunch.
We left with full hearts, inspired spirits and giddy enthusiasm.
How did that happen? I have mulled over Saturday afternoon’s conversation and wished that I had taken notes. I can not explain why and how things unfolded as they did, only that it was life-giving. It was the encouragement and hope that people pray for and pay for. Ours was dispensed freely at a restaurant table. By the time that it was over, we were the only ones there. I have not been able to put my finger on all that went into making it such a significant time, but I left thanking God that I got to be in that place at that time.
To back up just a bit… I had taken a friend of mine out to lunch to celebrate her birthday. She could have chosen anywhere, but she chose the place that we have chosen to meet to celebrate small victories and talk through life’s challenges in the last couple years. It is our favorite Mexican restaurant, with classy decor, good food, and servers who allow us to linger.
As it happened, the owner was there. He has known both my friend and I for over 20 years. Until recently, he had stepped away from the 24/7 nature of owning a restaurant to stay home with his two girls, as his wife travels for her job. Now, the demands have once again changed, and he is back in the restaurant. What that meant for us Saturday, was that he had no idea of what had transpired in my friend’s life in recent months, or actually, in the last couple years. Years ago, her business was located right next door to his business and they have been friends ever since.
When he appeared at our table, we thought it would be the general chit-chat of an owner/manager checking in. We had no way of knowing that he would spend the next hour affirming and encouraging her and humbly sharing some of his own life experiences and the lessons he’s learned along the way. I know the whole time he was talking to her, but I listened intently and applied valuable lessons to my life as well.
One of the richest conversations was him encouraging my friend to write about “falling from her perch.” Though everyone who knows her knows that the circumstances of her life have changed, most of us have summized that it was devastating. She talked candidly of her lifestyle but went on to proclaim the benefits she has seen and the positive things that her family has experienced because of the changes. None of it has been easy, but so often fruit is produced in the valleys. We talked of the trappings of things and the fast track to success. We talked about wanting our lives to be significant and simpler. We all agreed that we can relate to each other so much more when we reveal the “way-less-than-perfect” (my words, not theirs) parts of our lives.
Some may say this time was just serendipity… a happy accident. I choose to believe that God orchestrated this time for us. I’ve heard it said that when hearts are open, miracles can happen. Perhaps it was just incredible timing that all three of us showed up with open hearts. Honestly, I don’t think any of us even realized that until the conversation switched from the general to the genuine.
As he walked away, nearly an hour later, all my friend and I could do was look at each other and say, “WOW!” She exclaimed that her cup was full. I acknowledged the wonder of such a great birthday present. The time together was truly a gift.
Once I got home, I couldn’t help but think that these were the kind of times I used to wait for to write. Just last week I made a conscious decision to stop waiting for those times and to be a writer every day. In order to do that I would have to write more about the messes in my life. I have so much more subject matter to pull from if I share how I am stepping over the ‘piles’ as I try to live this life of faith we’ve been called to. Just know that I still love looking for the miracles in the midst of the mundane and will continue to do so!
This week, I encourage you to slow down a bit, linger a little longer, listen a bit more carefully and speak encouraging words. The results may just amaze you!
Growing Into Genuine With You,