The waitress, I noticed, was paying rapt attention to my daughters. Three sisters sitting in a row, requesting chicken fingers and fries, honey mustard on the side. She took their orders with care, wanting to get it just right. I sensed this had more to do with whatever was going on in her heart than it did her desire to be an adept waitress. And I was right.
As we waited for our meal to arrive, I wondered about this waitress, thought about striking up a conversation with her. Yet what would I say? I see you looking at my girls, have you a daughter of your own? Or, are you the mother of boys, longing for a little girl? As she refilled our drinks I contemplated the story hiding behind her intent, brown eyes. Turns out I didn’t have to ask.
As she brought our check, the waitress inquired about my daughters. She asked their ages, where they attend school, and what it’s like to have three children. She, she went on to tell, had a son, about nine years old, the pride of her existence. But as she spoke I could see the worry in her eyes; with it came her story.
She’d tried for years to get pregnant after having her son, but to no avail. Then, as luck would have it, she’d gotten cancer. Now she was in remission, but her doctor warned her against having more children. It would weaken her immune system. Most interesting to me was that when she spoke, it was not with bitterness, but with acceptance for her fate. She was at peace with what life had handed her.
But I wasn’t. My heart ached for this woman I do not know. I was sad for what she’s been through and even sadder that she doesn’t get to have the second child, the daughter, she longs for. I felt angry at her doctors for squashing her dreams, even as I know my anger was displaced. They, did not give her cancer. They have her best interest at heart.
Mostly though, I just felt guilt. Guilt for sitting here at this table with three beautiful, vibrant daughters and a body that has not yet betrayed me. Guilt for having a life I humbly understand many would envy. Guilt in knowing my life, thus far, has been easier than hers.
So from this waitress at Chili’s I have realized 3 things:
1. The gifts in our lives are given, not earned. I can’t take credit for what I have.
2. We can rarely fix or alleviate the pain of others. We can however try to be conscious of it, pray for them, and be a kind presence in their times of need.
3. When life throws a crisis in your direction, there are really only two ways in which you can respond: with bitterness or acceptance. My guess is we all start with bitterness. But if we can’t move away, can’t eventually get to a place of acceptance, it will destroy us. So really, if you want any kind of life at all, there is only one response.
The Writer’s Progress:
One reason I started this blog was to keep myself accountable and thus I want to report my progress.
*I have stuck to my goal of writing for 2 hours a day. I am finding if I write first, then do other work, it energizes me.
*I have completed two manuscripts I need to turn in for a writer’s conference I’m attending in July. Just need to re-edit about 72 more times and then send them out. Wish me luck!
*I am struggling to get moving on my book on miracles. Stupid fear getting in the way. But, I did spend some time researching/gathering ideas for how to capture more stories on how God is achieving his goals through us. I’m also collecting ideas for titles and how to structure the book. Baby steps…