Sunday, March 08, 2015

Ordinary People / Extraordinary Moments

It bein' Sunday and all
good day as any for a bit
of confession.
I was at a restaurant
last week
tucked into a booth
with some nice comfort food.
I had just begun to sip my coffee
when a waitress
seated a couple
in an adjacent booth
very near mine.
They were ordinary people
maybe a few years younger than me.
He was tall in a flannel shirt.
She had a scarf wrapped
all around her neck
and looked tired.
Across the table from one another
I would likely have paid them
no special mind
but I happened to see him
reach for her hand
across the table
shortly after they had ordered.
She hesitated.
I saw him smile
and heard him say
"Give me your hand."
And she did.
From that point on
it was hard to turn away.
There was something about the kindness
in his smile
when he reached for her hand.
There was something about the
look on her face when she hesitated.
I had no idea what was going on
but I could tell it was big
and it was deep
and it was important
to them both.
I don't think it's a sin
that I eavesdropped
on two strangers
on a cold winter night.
But I think it would be a sin
to treat the things I saw
and the things I heard
with anything but
The threads of their
loomed before me
the rough draft
of a love story.
My breakfast came
right about the time
I heard her say
"Can I plant flowers? I love to plant flowers.."
and he laughed
reminding her the deer would really enjoy that.
They both laughed.
It was their laughter
and their smiles
to which I was drawn.
They were real.
While I had no idea
of the meaning of this evening for them
or the story behind it
their laughter and their smiles
told me everything I needed to know
about these two.
I couldn't leave.
I sat there longer than I would have
but I couldn't bring myself
to do it
I couldn't get up and leave them
I was
so completely lost
in their story.
Even as I hung
on their every word
the two of them were oblivious to me.
They joked and laughed
with the waiter
but other than that
the night belonged to the two of them.
What a joy it was
to peek into
their world.
Just before they left
I heard him say to her
"I have a dream....can I share it with you?"
She laughed.
These two laughed lots.
Not gut-busting stuff
but the easy laughter
between people
who are comfortable
She laughed and I actually think
she got a little bit shy when he asked
but she said, "Sure".
(And yeah, at this point I thought
shame on you Debbie
this is really personal
you shouldn't be listening
but I listened anyway.
After just a few minutes
I really 
kind of felt like
it was
the three of us
in this whole
love story together.)
He told her
he could see the two of them
growing old together.
(WAS I was tempted to jump up,
shove her out of the way
and beg him to marry me?
If fate leads us to cross paths
in line at Walgreens
some afternoon
I still might.
Is that the sweetest thought
he could have shared with her?
I mean, ever??)
They got really quiet for a few minutes.
They looked out the windows.
I could tell they were both
just lost in the moments
and doing some thinking.
Then he asked her
one final question.
I'll never forget it.
Not as long as I live.
I'll hear it in his voice
I will see the smile on his face
and the tears that welled up in his eyes
and I will see the look of peace
and wonder on hers
as he said it.
"Can our home be filled with
laughter and with love and with
family and friends?"
(Tears in my eyes at this point.
Drink your coffee, Debbie.
Just drink your coffee.)
I heard her exhale
at the question.
It was like she
released every pent-up thing
she had trapped inside her
and letting it out
felt so wonderful
I could just see it on her face.
She smiled
as big as can be
and said,
"That's exactly what I want, too.
Yes. You and I will fill our
home with
and with love
and with
family and friends."
I've never heard anything
more innocently beautiful.
It was a sacred moment.
Why God allowed
me to hear those words
and to see the smiles
and to feel their hearts....
well, I really don't know.
But I did
and it touched me deeply.
They slid from the booth
and left into the night.
I think of them often...
these ordinary people
whose lives intersected with mine
in such a lovely
and unexpected way.
I think of them as a gift.
I remember them in faith
that the beauty
of their simple shared dreams
will come to life.
And I pray for them all the time.

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