I waited patiently for my friend to arrive.
But she didn’t
because I had the wrong day.
So I sat alone at the restaurant
on Valentine’s Day
wanting to reassure everyone that people do love me, they’re just not here right now…
With little battery power left on my iPhone
I pull out my little journal
The one that I’ve been drawing in
And I grab a pencil and soon some images appear on the paper.
The owner of the restaurant walks by and stops.
He asks me how I like the food.
It was delicious!
And then he asks me what I am doing.
“Are you a poet?” he inquires.
“No, these are words from the Bible” I reply.
“You study the Bible?” his Lebanese accent as flavorful as his cuisine.
I thought I was meeting my friend for lunch –
but now I’m making a friend.
“My priest tells me about Jesus. I go to church. I think what you are doing is very good thing. I have questions. I think my priest makes God sound like a monster. He says things I don’t understand.”
He seems convinced that I am a student. It’s hard for him to believe that I’m a regular person. I tell him I read the Bible every day. I study but I’m not a student. Jesus is very real in my life.
Tucked away in this restaurant, I begin to tell him some of my story. “One day I began reading the Bible for myself. I read from a Study Bible and started in the New Testament. It changed my life. I was never the same. That is a good thing.”
His face is quizzical. We both seem confused about what is happening. Neither of us expected this conversation.
I feel a little embarrassed because I’m not an artist and these aren’t my words.
He pauses, I slowly turn a few pages and he says kind things. He tells me it is beautiful. I’m ready to cry.
He asks me if he can get me anything and I touch his elbow and tell him he has already given me so much. I thank him, he turns away. We smile and I tell him, “Bless you.”
I think this man might just start to read the Bible. Maybe God is tugging on his tender heart. I will never know the answer but that’s how it felt within me. The mustachioed man didn’t know that hours before coming to his restaurant, I was walking and praying. “Heavenly Father, if it pleases you, open up opportunities for my life and abilities to honor you.”
God gave me a special Valentine’s Day gift today. I brought my best Friend with me today even though I appeared to be alone. And I did meet a friend after all.