I awoke to snowflakes today. Good Friday, indeed. I sipped my tea slowly and pondered my Saviour’s journey from Palm Sunday – a Hallelujah welcome – to Good Friday and his violent death. Snow turned to rain . . . tears from Heaven. The winds picked up and I wondered if the wintry stormy world of today would plunge into darkness in a few hours from now, so like that dark day 2000+ years ago . . .
The kids tumbled downstairs still sleepy-eyed, yet astonished at the lack of sunshine they had so hoped for. Their garden-time plans rearranged instantly. Gary and I carried on with our schedule to take in brunch at our favorite spot, Ike’s Quarter Café (Southern-Style dining with a distinct California-casual seasoning) before venturing to pick up our taxes from the accountant. (Taxes seemed somehow fitting on Good Friday.)
We waited patiently for a table. Ike’s is small, has limited hours, accepts cash/checks only, and nearly always has a wait list because the food is so GOOD. While waiting I soaked in the sweetness of time away from home; a gift of lingering over a meal with my husband alone. Just as our table opened up a gentleman came in with his special son. Instantly Gary and I exchanged glances . . . so much like our Matthew. We took our seats and ordered and chatted, but all the while we felt the kindred presence of another special parent enjoying a special life with a special child.
Ike’s fills up with all sorts of unique people with all sorts of hairstyles, adornments, and ideas – the young man and his dad fit right in to the mix. The young man’s patience amazed me as he awaited his meal. Our son lacks patience by nature. In addition, this very boisterous little café has decibel levels that Matthew would doubtful endure; but this special fellow in the neighboring booth held his gaze shielded and his personal space closely guarded just as my Matthew does in the environs outside his comfort zone. He’d come to eat and he knew how to handle the ropes. Victory flowed with each sip of water and hand-soothing wring. The food would soon arrive . . . he knew it.
I chuckled a little as I saw the dad balancing on the banquette bench edge; his son refused to yield adequate space, but dad sat next to him anyway. Side-by-side they ate; just as side-by-side we know they share most of life . . . as we do with Matthew. The delighted smile that greeted scrambled eggs and french fries brought a tear to my eye. Simple pleasures. Simple joys. Simply living. I have that flavor sprinkled liberally into every day at home. I found sweet comfort in knowing another that receives the same gift. No words need be spoken. No notice need be given. ‘Tis enough to know by knowing. We are not alone . . .
The special gift shared by this man and his son eating amongst a crowd of people meeting up by chance, or so we think, graced the place with sweetness and light just like every little baby cradled in arms or child selecting a good read from the generous shelves at the entranceway. We pause; we smile; we speak silent thanks for the gift of sweet joy in the midst of our toils of the day. A Community that accepts wins a great victory in love. I like living amongst the many, the special, the different, and – yes – even the annoying. The mosaic of life calls for all colors, shapes, and sizes to send the message: Life matters! Let us celebrate each one.
It’s a special gift that many of our church friends comment upon receiving from us, and that in turn encourages us to step outside of our own comfort zone and brave the world of community even though the generally-accepted manners and mores seem so foreign to our special one. A “difference” can make a difference. Sometimes I forget that as I shoulder the daily burdens, navigate unfamiliar waters, and wish for something different. I have something different. You have something different. That guy in the booth with his french-fry loving son has something different. When Jesus put out the call on the mount for all to bring forth goods to share, He knew I would have something different. And He blesses and multiplies it just like those little loaves and fishes. What a blessing.
We left the restaurant and walked in the rain without saying much. We stopped into Tanglewood Forest (a most magical shop filled with fairies and flowers and beauty galore) and walked out with a beautiful butterfly sculpture. A memento. A reminder. A sweet symbol of hope gathered on a Good Friday.
We did eventually pick up our taxes . . . and then returned home to our house full of children – each one special in their own way. Brimming with blessed joy I danced from the car to the house in cold rainy, snowy blops knowing that Sunday will follow this Friday bringing a feast to celebrate the hope and newness of life born of one very Good Friday long ago.
Celebrate, Sweet Friends!
Bring out your gifts for our Lord to bless,
That they may be shared in abundance.