Saturday, April 27, 2019

Public / Private

Yesterday evening, Josh and I had a chance to go out to dinner together and run a few errands.  We dropped Zach off at Respite Night at church, (a fun night for special needs kids to enjoy making new friends and participate in activities structured around their abilities) and Lily was hanging out at home watching Duck Tales and reading a few new books. We hit a taco place in Eden Prairie and enjoyed the quiet even tough it was Friday night. The restaurant was only half full, and the high ceilings seemed to pull the noise of conversations away from us.

When I am out to dinner, or pretty much anywhere, I enjoy people watching.  Sometimes people are too far away and I can't hear what is being spoken of, other times, I am honored with a few stories shared among friends. I am not ashamed to admit that I listen in.  And when I do, I am amazed at what I hear.  But one thing that I also enjoy is watching people physically interact with each other.

Friends sharing stories and laughing together until they are both crying. As they wipe their tears, the laughing ensues all over again.  Oh, to laugh so much and enjoy life as they do.  I couldn't hear what was so funny, but their laughter made me smile.

I overheard a first time mom share her concerns with her friend about who would be present in the delivery room when she was in labor.  She didn't feel comfortable having her in laws or her own father present. Only her husband and her mom.  I thought this should be the least of her concerns in these final weeks and I hope her wishes are honored when her time comes to bring a new life into this world.

I observed a man and woman sitting at a two person high bar table enjoying their meal, but not really conversing. When they both finished, the husband reached for his wife's hand and smiled at her.  He held her hand and stroked the top of it with his other hand.  He had a serene look on his face as they sat looking at each other in silence.  Had it been a hard day? Did they receive some challenging news? Was this how he showed his wife of many years that he only had eyes for her?  I found myself hoping the woman enjoyed the gesture as much as it appeared her the man did.  He looked happy. Content. Connected.

I saw a small group three young men devouring their tacos and laughing together.  They appeared to be ravenous and consumed their food in record time.  I questioned if they had skipped lunch and then remembered my teen son can also consume huge amounts of food just hours after another meal. Sometimes, we call it Dinner 1, 2 and 3.

The family of 5 sitting next us consisted of 3 little boys.  A 4 year old, a 2 year old and a baby that couldn't be more than a couple weeks old. The mother looked phenomenal. She ate her meal as she comfortably held her newborn in the crook of her arm. She even reached across the table to re-wrap a taco or two for her toddlers.  She did it all with ease. Never once appearing to be overwhelmed. I realized I felt overwhelmed for her. 3 tiny kids that all needed a whole lot of help at dinner and probably all day long. Yet she made it look so easy. I was sure to smile at the two small boys and they skipped towards the front door.  And smiled at the mom when she headed towards them with the baby in the car seat.  She smiled back. She was tired, any mom could tell.  But she smiled back.

And then I saw a young teen couple sit at the high back table across from us. Both very attractive and tall, they comfortably fell into conversation with each other, smiled at each other and held hands as they waited for their food.  When his name was called, the young stood and walked to front counter to pick up their trays and returned to the table. As he settled in, she reached for his hand again and they began to pray together. This wasn't a quick Amen before eating.  They both took their time praying out loud as they prayed and thanked God for the day they had and for the food that had been prepared for them. They asked God to bless the kitchen staff that prepared their food and their families that they would return to later in the evening.  They took time to Thank God and Ask for His Blessing.

As a woman who prays before each meal, I especially admire when young people do the same. My Grandma Re always said, "If you can't thank Him in public, you probably shouldn't be in private." She passed away in 1996, and I can still hear her quiet yet bold voice saying this.  These young kids, thanked God in public.  Not to be noticed, not doing it for anyone else, but as a genuine outpouring of thankfulness from their hearts.

Yes. I enjoy hearing laughter between friends.  I pray for those that admit their fears out loud.  I enjoy watching friends reconnect after long periods of time. And couples making an intentional effort at spending time together.  But I have to say that last night, watching teenagers express their thankfulness to God, may be one of my favorite observation of all.

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