All I did was ask for half caff.
Our waitress glanced toward the kitchen miserably, like I’d just added an hour’s worth of work to her day.
I looked around at the spattering of others in the restaurant (hardly a rush); then, when she walked away, I leaned across the table and whispered to my friend, “She’s a grump.”
Maybe. But this was also an opportunity for me, and I missed it.
Two days later I was back at the same restaurant with my daughter. I scanned the room as the hostess seated us in a different section, certain we’d have a more amiable waitress.
A moment later, Ms. Grumpy stood over us. “Coffee?”
“Just water, thanks,” I said. Bullet dodged.
She left our menus and headed to the kitchen. A minute later, I heard the phone ring. Not my phone, her phone. She was headed toward us but stopped, put down the water on the service counter, and answered.
“Wow,” I thought, “Grumpy and she takes personal calls while she’s working.” Now I was getting grumpy. And thirsty.
“When will I be able to talk to him?” she asked, sounding worried now. She listened, eyes down. “But he’s okay, right? They said he was shot in the arm. So why is he in critical condition?”
As the conversation continued, it wasn’t difficult to piece together what was happening. Up until a couple days ago, her son had been in Afghanistan. There’d been a firefight. He was wounded. Now he was in Germany, just out of surgery.
It also became clear that not only had our waitress been unable to talk with him, she wasn’t getting the full story about his condition.
She tried but couldn’t hold back her tears.
I’d missed an opportunity. She wasn’t Ms. Grumpy. She was a mom worried to death about her boy.
Let me rewind for a moment. You know who the “friend” was I’d whispered to two days earlier? My mom, in for a visit from Colorado. You think maybe that tapped into something for our waitress?
Here’s the truth: You and I can’t see accurately. On our own, we can only see objects (things that bring us pleasure) or obstacles (things that get in the way of our pleasure).
Not so for Jesus. He always sees people—men, women, moms, dads, sons, daughters. I don’t know about you, but I want to see more like he does.
Jesus, I’m addicted to viewing people for what they can or can’t do for me. Through my attitudes, words, and actions, I’ve missed opportunities you’ve given me to love. This day, would you open my eyes to see what you see?
Question: Do you have a story of a time you failed to see a person, and only later realized you missed an opportunity to love? Or do you have a story when somehow God opened your eyes to see, and it made all the difference? Leave a comment below.
P.S. Guess what T-shirt I happened to be wearing during the 2nd breakfast?