Are You Ready To Order??
I love going out to eat. There’s something about being at a restaurant watching the waiters and bartenders scurry through their evening that just draws me in. I love watching other patrons as they interact with each other, watching them sometimes immerse themselves in their phones regardless of the person they brought with them across the table, and I love trying to guess what is going on in their lives. Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love people watching. I love it when I can be seated at a table that gives me a great view of the room so that I can see as many people as possible. I love the white noise of hundreds of active conversations, the sound of silverware hitting plates, the overhead music in the background, the voices of the staff organizing their assignments, and even the occasional jolt of dropped dishes in the kitchen. I love being handed a menu and getting to peruse through appetizers and entrees, and desserts. I love reading the descriptions of each dish painting a picture in my head of what truffle infused olive oil looks like on Foie Gras and trying to imagine if I would like it.
As I read through the menu, I find myself less interested in the line by line food descriptions, and more interested in the food being served around me. I find myself sitting up taller so I can see what the waiter is carrying on that tray across the room or leaning back just a touch to see what the table beside me ordered. I start wondering, is that the chicken, or is that the fish? Is that what they meant by parmesan dusted potatoes or is that something different. I want to see it. The description and words are great, but what does it actually look like.
Maybe sometimes we just can’t know until we see it.
I can’t help but think this is what marriage is like. I’ve spent so many of the past few years of my life being an active proponent of transparency and honesty in relationships. I’ve read the description, I understand what must go into it to make it happen, I acknowledge the consequences of transparency and the courage it takes. I know what’s in there. I’ve looked around to see what transparency looks like in others lives. I’ve compared the description with what I see played out in others. And so, I’ve ordered, and I decide that I want that. I want transparency.
Maybe sometimes we just can’t know until we taste it.
There’s always a moment at the restaurant when the waiter puts my plate down in front of me where I find myself asking, “Is this what I really ordered?” Transparency isn’t much different. Did I really say that I would be completely transparent with my husband regardless of his reaction? Did I say that I would share my fears and struggles with him even if I desperately wanted to appear strong? Did I promise not to keep things hidden and not handle things on my own even if I knew telling would hurt him? Did I really order that?
I know that transparency leads to intimacy and that without transparency we get stuck in surface relationships and find ourselves always ordering off the three ingredient kids menu. I know that I am blessed to be able to practice transparency and intimacy with a God who never turns his back on me, who sees my pain and my potential, and who loves me unconditionally, but He wants more for my marriage.
As I sit starring at what I ordered, I see the man I love sitting across from me. I know that I must be totally open and honest with him, both about my joy and gratitude, and about my struggles and temptations. I know that even if I am sharing with him something I’ve said before, even if I’ve said it 100 times, that I need to say it again. But, I can feel God’s hand on my shoulder encouraging me to keep going, to be strong, to be courageous. I can hear God whispering in my ear to trust in Him, and to allow myself to be vulnerable, reminding me that it’s important to be fully known.
As I review the menu one more time to see exactly what’s in the dish I ordered, I gently lay a napkin on my lap, and without second guessing, I just dig in.