Confession is Good for the Soul

Everyone who knows me knows that food is too important to me. A meal is seldom just a meal. My day can be ruined by a disappointment involving food. And I don't like this about myself.

If I am to be totally honest, my initial response to disappointment of any kind is often out of proportion to the situation. It's not so much what I say. I don't rant or rave or sulk. But I have one of those faces that displays emotion without saying a word. And that is often accompanied by a negative comment. Within minutes of feeling totally bummed out, I see myself and I feel like an idiot for over-reacting (even if only internally), which leads to me asking myself, "What is wrong with you? This is not a big deal. You're turning something so minor into something big. Why do you do this?" And then I begin to adapt. The whole process may take five minutes. But I don't understand why - even though I see this in myself so glaringly and want so much to change - I cannot seem to change! Adaptability nearly always follows the initial 'giving in' to the out of proportion sense of disappointment. And I want adaptability to be my INITIAL response (without having to lecture myself first).

John and I had a great day. We usually go to church on Saturday night, but we jointly hosted an engagement party last night with some other couples and had to switch to the Sunday morning service. This was the dedication weekend for our new sanctuary. And Charlie Daniels led praise and worship, which was a real treat. He and his family have attended WOC for years and Charlie has sung on numerous occasions. It's always special. (I won't even get started on how much I love Charlie and Hazel since I have had the pleasure of knowing them. But they are the definition of genuine.) Suffice it to say, church was extra-extra good today. I left feeling very uplifted.

This afternoon we went to watch our niece, Taylor, play basketball. We got to spend several hours with John's brother, Jeff, while watching her play. We had a great time. And then we went to dinner on the way home, which I was looking forward to very much.

We are regulars at Parthenon Grille and I have favorite dishes. All day I thought about how good their Smoked Salmon Mascarpone appetizer sounded, followed by one of my favorite entrees, Shrimp & Scallop Linguine. I knew what I wanted before we walked in the door. And here's where the confession begins:

We sat down. I looked at the menu. I realized it was not the regular menu, but a special Mother's Day limited menu. And the two things I was craving were not offered. In the server's presence, I looked at John (with palpable disappointment) and said, "What we normally order is not even on the menu tonight because of Mother's Day." (I might as well have said, "Mother's Day is ruined. Let's go.") The server said, "On major holidays, we always have a limited menu. I'm sorry." On the first glance, nothing on the special menu appealed to me. But, truthfully, that was just because I had chosen to give in to my "wah-wah" spoiled inner child. The server seemed a little nervous and offered to go get us a glass of water.

When she walked away, John said, "Well, I don't want to go somewhere else." And I said, "Oh, it's okay. I can try something different, I guess." And as soon as I said it, I began to think about how ridiculous it was to feel so much emotion over a meal (and embarrassed that I had felt it necessary to express my disappointment in front of the server). I said to John, "Was I a b**** just now? Tell me the truth." And my kind husband (who never reacts to anything - including my reactions) said, "Well, keep in mind, there is a difference between being one and occasionally acting like one." Ouch. In the kindest possible way, he answered just as I had asked ... honestly. And I had to laugh. Which led to me asking him, "Why can I see this unattractive trait in myself and still not be able to change it?" He just smiled and said, "Well, dear, food is just a little too important to you."

When our server returned, I was just as sweet as I could be. We asked if there was any chance we could get the smoked salmon appetizer and she said she would ask Angelo (the chef). Probably because he knows us by name and we are such regular customers, he told her to tell us he would do his best to make us whatever we wanted. And, yes, we could have the smoked salmon. I was then as happy as I had previously been disappointed (crazy as that sounds). And for the remainder of my meal, I elected to order from the limited menu. (For the record, I tried something new and it was delicious.)

In spite of all my special requests (and I do tend to recreate menu items from time to time) the two servers who routinely take care of us always seem happy to do so. But because of the holiday, we had a server who didn't know us tonight and I felt that I had caused her stress right off the bat with my negative reaction to the menu. I really regretted that. So I made certain I didn't miss a single opportunity to thank her throughout the rest of the meal. John knows from experience how tough the restaurant business is and he always tips genersously. But tonight he teased me and said, "I wrote a note on the check telling her I gave her a little extra to make up for your reaction to the menu." (He didn't, of course.)

I'm thankful for insight into myself. I'm thankful for humor. I'm thankful for a husband who loves me just as I am. And I'm thankful for grace. But I still want and need to change!

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