March 7, 2007

Humble Pie

Earlier this week my wife and our two daughters went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. It’s one of those places caught in a time warp. A place where all the waitresses call you "Honey" and the kids don’t have to worry so much about being quiet. The sign outside is so old it’s in style again. A place where you can ask for fried chicken gizzards or fried okra and no one will even blink an eye. A place where for about six bucks you get a dinner with beverage and dessert included. A place where you can write a check and they don’t ask for identification. Blue collar cuisine at its finest.

That night it took about half an hour to get our food. It was getting late and we were getting a bit testy about having to wait so long. What I really wanted to do was to go see the owner (she was working as a waitress because they were so shorthanded) and demand our food. I would not be rude, but very straightforward and curt. But my daughters were sitting there. How would I want them to behave if confronted with this situation? Would I want them to be polite? Would I want them to fight the urge to demand better service? Would I want them to be compassionate, to put the event in context, to consider how hard the two waitresses were working to accommodate so many people?

So many times I tend to want to blame others, to make my faults something they caused. But of course my faults are my own. The problem is within me, in my pride, in my unwillingness to put others first. I know that it is important, especially during the Lenten season, to put aside pride, to resist the deadly seduction of anger, to love equally. Even though I am aware of the problem, I tend to let myself get rattled by the smallest things, things that at the time seem enormous, but really mean absolutely nothing. Many times I let negative emotions get in the way and cloud my judgement. I know that I am a much better man, husband and father when I am in control, when I decide how I will react, when calm reason replaces the rage.

So I sat there and tried to look like I was just taking it all in stride. I reminded my daughters that we knew they were shorthanded, that generally the waitresses were very prompt, and that the owner took great pleasure in making vanilla milkshakes for the youngest daughter. I hope my frustration was not too obvious. I hope they saw the man I want to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Simply beautiful!