The family sat together in that restaurant the New York Times had been raving about. Bearded Hipsters lined the walls waiting for a seat…waiting for her seat, a seat that to most minds she didn’t deserve to occupy- restaurants are for people who can eat, not for people who can only sit and stare at the blank table beneath them. Disease has meant restriction, and she’s lived withered for years. Many times the table has been laid with a blank plate and a hidden sad heart. But today, her place is set in unseen places, and something new is about to unfold. A gradual grace is growing. He who meant her to live abundantly is about to show her hidden fruit that a platter can’t hold.
Grace and poise grow through trial. A Lady is a woman who can be denied her way and still balance on the balls of her feet and step lightly- no chip on the shoulder, no ducked chin, no “sorry for me”, or judgement of others. She’s a Lady. No silk stockings can make her, she’s forged in the fire, and made of metal robed in beauty. Dignity. It’s a thing learned and earned and realized over time. It’s a coat grown into with years and choice.
So when the waiter handed around the plates of exquisite food that she could not eat, she turned her eyes to the wall and prayed. She asked to learn the lesson and to enjoy the feast, to get all from this grace that she could. There are no accidents in this Kingdom. There’s a Sovereign who oversees, and who hands down gifts and graces that sometimes are hard to take. She wants to take the grace….and so He gives it.
5000 sat down hungry. The Messiah turned to His disciples and commanded that they feed them. Bewildered, they showed Him their laughable loaves and fish. “Bring them to Me”, He said. “Bring Me what you have- start taking stock- What DO you have, not what DON’T you have. Survey and search for the goodnesses”
She felt the rich wood of the 100 year old soda rail, she saw the beauty of the women at the next table, coiffed and dressed to perfection, she smelled the symphony of a room full of food, she listened to voices and heard, she talked and laughed. She realized that there are many facets to this blessing of “going out to eat”. Many loaves in the basket, and she may partake of all but one: food on the tongue. All the others are hers to hold. You may eat of any of the trees of the garden, He says. Look how many thousands abound for the eye that’s trained to see. This is not a great lack, this is a bountiful feast.
She’s learning poise.
When her father-in-law turns and asks, “Doesn’t it bother you to watch us all eat?”, immediately the words come forth, for her mouth was already full: There are so many goodnesses here to be gathered besides food, and I get to partake of them all”.
It’s taken awhile to learn the secret. To feel the sadness and then to let it turn to joy. To invite the sense of scarcity to be tumbled and swept over in the tide of thanksgiving and awareness. She’s gathering goodnesses like manna, like a gleaner on the edge of the field, parting the grasses to find the grain that stays hidden till you hunt. He’s always laced the sad places with it, like Boaz did for Ruth, the sorrow wastes have gifts buried in the dirt for the one who will focus his eyes to watch for the shine among the gravel. Nobody casts pearls before swine, which means that the real treasures don’t get flung out on the surface for all to see, they’re tucked away in precious places for the one who will choose to mine- to go sifting through- to ferret out the weight of glories in the hand that far outweigh the birds absent from the bush.