If there is one thing we can continually plan on, it is that our plans will change.
While this has the potential to drive us crazy at times, we’ve come to realize oftentimes these changes turn into really fun experiences.
On Thursday morning we found ourselves sprawled out across the high-top counter at Waffle House in North Carolina because our plans to make it to our continental breakfast at our hotel were overruled by our desire to sleep in.
Why we chose to sit at the counter with a six year old and highly overactive three year old is still to be determined, yet there we found ourselves peacefully juggling plates, knives, napkins, forks, drinks and conversation in our cozy little bubble.
Amidst the obvious serenity at the Waffle House counter top, our cozy little bubble popped as our six year old dropped his silverware next to him. In the booth at the end of the counter sat a middle aged gentleman who was obviously not entertained with the show we were putting on at the counter. As the silverware cascaded to the ground he was quick to let our child know that it had hit him with displeasure. Micah was quick to apologize and scurry back into his seat.
Amidst our meal Michelle attempted to recount to me what had occurred, as I began to notice his obvious displeasure with the world.
I have to be honest, my gut reaction was to want to tell this guy to get over it. I stewed a moment while we ate. Then reality began to seep into my heart.
Most people don’t wake up wanting to be angry; rather anger forms as a result of the things that hit us that day.
Maybe he had a fight with his family on the way out the door or a bad experience in traffic. Maybe he lost his job, or worse yet a loved one. Regardless of what it was, something was a catalyst to the attitude we were seeing.
We had three options. Fuel it. Ignore it. Or reverse it.
As our meal was coming to an end, we grabbed a scrap of paper and quickly jotted a note on it and showed it to our waitress, asking her to give us this gentleman’s bill. Our intent was to quietly let the exchange happen without him knowing where the gesture came from.
Our waitress saw our note, smiled, and walked over to his table. She then bent down, picked up his tab, and loudly proclaimed we were paying for his meal as she excitedly pointed at us.
How is that for discreet.
Our waitress then told us how she thought he was having a bad day, and that on top of it they had messed up his order three times.
We looked back at his booth and his frown disappeared as a huge smile washed over his face. His entire demeanor and the aura being put off from his booth transformed.
Our decision to be love changed the trajectory of his day.
As we left he smiled at us. We all gave him a hearty Merry Christmas; for which he returned to us too.
We could have made the decision to fire back, to fuel the attitude that was overcoming him. We also could have made the choice to just disregard him completely.
Instead we chose to engage as Jesus would (albeit we didn’t want the announcement for the whole restaurant).
We cannot overcome darkness with darkness, only with light. And in the presence of light darkness cannot prevail!
So this Christmas season, when you find yourself encountering someone who doesn’t quite have the Christmas spirit; consider something may have robbed it from them and see how you can restore a little joy by loving on them!
When you talk to the grinch consider what may have made him grouchy and see how you can reverse it.
Here is our challenge to you.
Be light this Christmas season. Go out there and do something awesome for someone who deserves the exact opposite and then share your story with us and with others to inspire others to do the same!
To us, it was just an $8 meal; but to that man it was a moment of hope and joy in the middle of whatever kind of day he was having.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:27-36