What a great way to start the day! I mean having a group that basically puts up with my friend and me the first thing every Thursday morning is one thing, but paying for the privilege is if not extraordinary, then at least worth mentioning.
If you follow this little piece every week, you know by now that the writing of it is preceded by a pre-dawn visit to the OPH across from the EP Mall. We open the place, go straight to our booth and don’t need menus. I’ve been doing this with someone from church for 6 and half years now, and so he and I are something like regulars in the place. Servers other than the one serving us will stop by to chat; the manager Jake always has a something to say. I’ve even officiated at the wedding of one of the servers.
A few months ago J. T., one of the servers we talk with every week, was going on about all the details and costs leading up to his wedding. When he got to the part about who would do the service, I wiped the bacon grease from my mouth, pointed to myself and said, “Free Wedding, at least a a $200 value.” He took me up on it, and a few months later I was standing in front of J.T. and his bride on the top floor of whatever they call IDS tower these days.
I suppose encounters like this are not really unusual or extraordinary. After 6 and half years, people get to know people and people who run restaurants find a way to say thank you to regulars. Still all this means something to me and stirs enough in me to want to tell you about it.
Just what that is, I’m not so sure… but it has something to do with realizing that you are included in a small way by a community of people that you have no right to claim membership in. I know it’s just a group of servers and managers and cooks in a restaurant of all places, but for me when I opened that card or when J.T. asked, “is that offer was still good?” it was humbling.
By humbling I don’t mean anything like the belittling that word often describes. I’m talking about that overwhelming sense of surprise, that recognition of an unearned, undeserved, unmerited grace being offered.
It’s experiencing that deeper sense of where grace is shared in my life that relationships, like the ones I experience every Thursday morning at OPH, help me believe in the deepest sense of love and support and acceptance God showers on us in the birth of Jesus. Perhaps the miracle of God coming to be one of us in the Christ Child is that what we think of as most unusual or even extraordinary is an every moment, every day kind of thing for God.
Keep the Faith,