Monday, February 11, 2008

The Sermon

We went for breakfast.

And got a sermon.

What with our suitcase of laundry emitting fumes that could kill a cat, we decided to take advantage of being in a hotel with coin operated washers and dryers to get the clothes done before we headed into town. We know ourselves and we are both types that can get distracted and end up putting things off. Given that the plastic was beginning to melt on the luggage handle, we thought that we reallycouldn't wait. So, I had a couple scoops of left over Indian food that we had ordered the night before and settled on the bed to read until all was clean again.

It took just over an hour, Joe burst through the door with clean clothes in tow and we began getting ready to head out to get breakfast. The hotel offers 'continental breakfast' ... I've never understood which continent they are referring to because a breakfast full of sugar isn't the way to start the day.

The first restaurante we went to had a twenty minute line up. Don't Kamloopians eat at home? Then we found one that was a little more upscale than we typically go, but there was no line up. We were guided to a table over by the window and I managed to tuck my wheelchair in and out of the way. I don't like feeling in the way. I watched as a few seconds later an elderly couple, her in a walker, him with a cane, made their way to a table a couple over. They were clearly poor, he had a coat that was ripped at the pocket and repaired, roughly, with duct tape. She wore a sweater that was clean, but whose beauty had faded with time.

As we were looking at the menu a gaggle of girls came in and asked to sit somewhere other than 'cripple row'. I glanced at them with menace, they were a little too self absorbed to notice. But the waitress shooed them off to the far corner of the restaurant, and we returned to peace. I looked over to see if the other couple noticed the interchange. They didn't. They were too busy noticing each other. They hadn't picked up the menu, instead, he had picked up her hand and was gently holding it.

We placed our order, and went a bit extravagent, deciding on vegetarian Eggs Benedict and specialty teas. We seldom splurge on breakfast like this, but I figured I worked Saturday and have only one day off this weekend, I deserve to pamper myself. I heard the waitress take their order but didn't hear what it was, and indeed was losing interest in others as Joe and I picked up on a conversation we've been having on and off for this whole trip. Something we need to talk about and something we have to figure out. Not a subject of stress but a subject not to be put off either.

When our food arrived, we paused in conversation, and in that pause I noticed the elderly couple having their food delivered too. He got a plate with two eggs, two toast and two slices of bacon. She got a cup of coffee. They thanked the waitress and as soon as she was gone, the work began. He took the toast off the side plate and cut the eggs down the middle. He slid an egg over to the side plate and then placed on it a slice of toast and a slice of bacon. He slid the meal over to her. They looked at each other conspiatorially and giggled.


They joined hands, bowed their heads and said grace. I heard the word 'bounty'.

Bounty was what was on my plate. Food that I had tucked into, food that I had lost the capacity to feel grateful for. Food that may well, one day, be richer that I am. In the moment, I felt shamed. Losing the ability to be grateful and graceful about what one has is the first step to callousness and arrogence. I don't want to loose the wonder of what I have been given, the opportunities that are presented to me, the stuff that comes as a result.

I'm not sure how, but over the next few days, I'm inviting grace back into my life. An elderly couple treasures what they have, in each other, and in what is brought to the table.

No wonder they looked so happy.


Anonymous said...

Dave, thats funny we're on the same wave length today!
Its my 43rd birthday today. I share it with my identical twin sister. I wrote the following on a card for her....Life taken for granted never knows joy. (Sr Stan).
I am very grateful for having my sister in my life!
Happy birthday Lou!

lina said...

'inviting grace back into my life', easy to forget and to take for granted. I hear you - and lesson well put. Beautiful post Dave.

Kei said...


LukeyOneSock said...

Lovely, tears from me yet again. Thanks!

Joyful Fox said...


What a beautiful post!
An example for all of us to be grateful for all that we have.


Anonymous said...

I can relate to how you feel about being in the "cripple row"... My sister is deaf, so whenever we go to a restaurant, she screams quite loudly and bangs the table when she wants/needs to call attention to herself... It's kind of embarrassing when people glance our way with "whoa, she's crazy" written all over their faces... But I know my sister can't help it, she can't hear how loud she is... She just wants to sign to someone... But it's still hard to deal with... It's hard to explain to someone who can't hear the difference between indoor and outdoor voices too... I understand that people don't want to have their dinners ruined because of a screaming child, but can't they also express a teeny bit of understanding sometimes?
But such a beautiful story. :) Thanks for sharing it.