Sunday, January 18, 2009


After church service, we went to a local family diner for brunch, something that we do every once in a while. We don’t eat out often, so the omelets and sausages and pancakes and eggs are a special treat. Even though the food is common, being served is not.

But today, we had a very unusual treat. Near the end of the meal, the waitress brought us our check, then after a few minutes, took it away, surely to add something to the bill that she’d left out, I thought. No one paid any attention to that gesture, but all of us noticed. Several minutes later when we were almost ready to leave, the waitress returned.

“Your check was taken care of,” she informed us.

We were all stunned because although we often ran into church friends there, today there was no one in the restaurant that we knew.

“Who…?” several of us asked.

“She didn’t want you to know. It was the sweet older woman sitting right there,” the waitress jerked her head to the now empty booth next to our table. “She said that you were a sweet and well-behaved family, and she wanted to pay for your meal.”

I had hardly noticed who sat in that booth. But George and I immediately knew why she had paid for our meal: it was because we had all stood up and said grace before the meal, honoring God before we partook of the food. And that’s very uncommon in a restaurant. To my shame, I am often embarrassed by George’s insistence that we rise while we pray instead of meekly sitting in our seats with our heads bowed as other Christians do in a public place. But he insists that if an important person entered the room, you would rise to your feet, not talk to him sitting down. So we rose as a unit, prayed, and ate.

And were rewarded in a very unexpected way.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)