Mom and I were starving. We’d been on the road a couple of hours, rushing to drop off a loved one at the airport. We didn’t want to chance being late so we just buckled up and took off. As we drove we talked and laughed and the rumble of our stomachs barely caught our attention.
After we dropped her off it was like we’d unleashed the kraken. We realized we needed to eat- and NOW. The problem was that we still needed to make a stop (at an unnamed Swedish mecca of self-assembled furnishings) before returning home and it would close in just a couple hours. (Ever been there? If not, just know this is not a quick stop.)
We had a dilemma. Our choice was to either press ahead with shopping and risk passing out from low blood sugar, or go eat and have to return a different day. First world problems undoubtedly.
Mom pipes up with the suggestion to eat at the little cafe in the store. I’d forgotten it existed. I go for this suggestion for efficiency and ease.
We navigated our way through the labyrinth of decor until we found it. We snagged our table and then headed to the line. Our hard plastic trays slid down the steel rails as we piled on drinks, napkins, flatware.
We got to the server and looked over the food choices. Why is everything less appealing when served from commercial grade stainless pans? Anyway, we made our choices. I got the pumpkin chicken and my mom got salmon. We continued down the steel cafeteria slide to the checkout stand.
My mom and I sat down at the white laminate table and unpacked the trays. We talked as we ate, distracted from the cardboard cuisine. We’d both been so hungry we were happy to be swallowing anything.
Then we finished and stacked our plates back on the tray.
We were still talking when the taste finally registered. Did we really just eat that? At least it was cheap.
It dawned on us that ranked in the bottom 10% of any meal we’d ever consumed. It. Was. Awful. And, yet, our plates were CLEAN.
At that moment, though, it suddenly became hysterical. We had not said one word about what it tasted like while we ate. We’d talked about everything but that. Now, here we were, with regrets as full as our stomach.
I laughed until tears ran. We took a picture to commemorate the shared experience, but my prim and proper mom made the most unexpected face for the pic and it completely sent me. I could barely breathe.
If living that moment meant I had to eat that dinner over again, I’d do it without a thought. The best gift of that day was the memory I made with my mom, the adventure of the unexpected, and the joy of connection.
Love is presence.
You weren’t meant to do life alone. None of us were. Stay in the fight by choosing to be present. Don’t miss life, or joy, or the disastrous pumpkin chicken.
If you haven’t found your people yet, be relentless in your search for them. They are out there, needing you as much as you need them.
Presence, not presents, is the whole point of Christmas. Love is revealed in your presence with another.
Are you looking for your people? The ones that will "get you"?
I have a suggestion. Put Monday, January 23rd on your calendar. Come discover a place to belong with SHINE.
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Love is presence.
Can't wait to welcome you,