Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Breadsticks and Humility Please

I haven't written for a week. Our little spring break getaway provided some introspection. We went to Denver so Brandon could see a professional basketball game, but instead settled watching the Nets play the Nuggets. It was a 25-point blowout for the home team.

Anyway, the trip became one of the most memorable our family has taken. Aside from the lobby of the Wingate being occupied with police when we checked in, it began as your average vacation. Later, as Emma took her nap in the room we debated for the better part of an hour on a place to eat dinner. As the head of the house, and a good coin flipper, I chose the Olive Garden.

Our waitress was busy, which meant the service was slow. Dinner was strung out longer than necessary, but we laughed and had a good time listening to Emma sing. It was time to get our bill and leave. I imagine that's what the people around us also thought, but we hadn't seen our waitress for so long we wondered if her shift was over. Then, she appeared, searching for words and said, "Folks, the gentleman at the table over there picked up your bill, so you're good to go."

We were stunned. A man and woman sat about 10 feet from us. After we figured out a tip, I slowly approached their table. Neither one looked up. I stood gazing from one to the other like I was watching a tennis match. Finally, the lady looked up with tears in her eyes and said, "He didn't want you to know."

I turned back to him and extended my hand with a simple "Thank you." He tried to fight back tears and slowly shook my hand, "Just take care of your family." By now Melissa and the kids were behind me saying thanks. The woman reminded Melissa how blessed we are. Knowing they didn't want any more attention, we walked away.

It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. It also had an impact on my 9-year-old son; later that night in a Wal-Mart parking lot he walked over to a lady struggling to load some storage containers into her car and volunteered to help.

He took the lead. As the cowards in Washington tell us who is deserving and who should be punished for succeeding too much, they dismiss the virtues with which God graced humanity -- kindness, compassion, and honor.

Our country didn't fall into chaos overnight. It happened one selfish act at a time. We can reclaim greatness by moving outside of ourselves and serving others.

And we can begin right now.


Anonymous said...

Good story, I enjoy your writing. XXXOOO from your lone (I think) RSS Feeder.

Doug Johnson said...

Hey, thanks for reading. At least as the lone RSS you won't have a guy with a big head blocking your view.